Welcome to this series focusing on values-based and principle-driven leadership. After 30 years as a professional speaker and author and having worked in just about every industry, I have compiled a comprehensive series of examples, insights, theories, wisdom and applications to the issue of values-based leadership development. Although not an exhaustive series in itself, it will challenge you, inspire you and give you many “Ah-ha” moments, when implemented, that can change your workplace environment.
To help you get the most out of the content, I’ve broken down the series into fast-paced, tangible, easy-to-read segments so you can immediately implement your learnings with your staff, employees and co-workers.
“Morale filters down. It never filters up. People listen with their eyes.”
Ask ten business leaders what “business ethics” means and why it’s important, and you’ll get ten different answers. Why? Because most people equate ethics with the religious or professional codes that matter most to them. They think of things like the ten commandments, or the Hippocratic Oath (do no harm), or something more mainstream like the “Golden Rule” where we “do unto others like we’d like them to do unto us.” Most of us rely on our culture, or that of society, for defining both our personal and professional ethics. But what are ethics, and is there a difference between personal and professional ethics?
The short definition is, “Ethics are the norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior in a given society.” For instance, in some countries it’s considered acceptable behavior to borrow someone’s property, even if they are a stranger, if you need it. Of course you return it when you’re finished. In the United States we ask before borrowing property, otherwise the person we’re borrowing it from would assume we’re stealing it. If this sounds unbelievable, consider office environments. Do people believe it is “okay” to go through your drawers and files for office supplies or folders? Does your spouse go through your wallet, phone or bag? Depending on your family culture this may or may not be okay.
So, ethics, for the purpose of this book, are about the norms that distinguish acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace, and particularly among our leaders, managers and bosses.
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