I wrote a book called The Training Physical, and it was published last year. As part of a very lengthy questionnaire to generate a press release I was asked to describe myself. I chose the words honest and ethical as a starting point.
The publicist I was working with said that during interviews, people are going to pick up on the word ethical and want me to explain myself. She said I need to be ready to site specific reasons why this word describes me, especially given the topic I wrote about. So I offered the following as a response, and I hope you will add to this discussion your interpretations too.
One of the things that I cannot stand is when people lie to me. I probably inherited this from my Father as it was his main pet peeve too. I believe in being honest, and yet you can be sensitive to people’s feeling while still telling the truth. I think today that too many leaders lie out of both sides of their mouths so they can be loved by everyone. Yet, once it is discovered that you lied about anything, the trust you built up to that point is diminished and it is very hard to restore it.
To me being ethical starts with telling the truth, and taking your lumps for errors, mistakes or differences of opinions. Ethical managers do the right things for the right reasons even though they may lose the popularity contest. They are true to their values, oaths and promises and I believe earn more respect than those who court too big of an audience.
Ethical Leaders don’t manipulate people, accounting figures, or situations to achieve personal agendas. They do what is right for the people they serve and are usually more respected than their self-serving counterparts.
I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing and working with several ethical leaders, and they are extremely successful people. Like many of you, I have also had the thrill of knowing too many unethical people and I find it fascinating how they continue to thrive. I rest on the saying, “what goes around comes around” and just keep myself focused on my own behaviors.
So if you were asked to describe what ethical management means to you, what would you say?