Are you being ethical?

Mar 1, 2019 | Leadership

What are ethics? Why should we be mindful of them, professionally and personally? I have written before in this blog on the connection between conversational practice and increased ethical behaviors. We need to be diligent in our quest to live a good life. What follows are a few observations on recent areas of leadership, technology, and trust where more diligent focus on ethics is needed. We often assume leaders are ethical paradigms when a glance at the news would point us towards a more critical examination. Prestige is not a guarantee of moral excellence. 

Leading on Ethics

We should expect our leaders to model ethical behavior. The tone is set at the top. This Forbes article explores strategies for a business to insulate the company against ethical missteps. When business leaders like the US Labor Secretary continually stumble through ethical errors, the importance of role modeling ethical behavior becomes more pressing.

Ethics and Tech

Facebook is less in the spotlight for leading edge tech but instead for ethical lapses. As Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, says in this CNET piece, “They don’t have a real ethical road map… ” Facebook is illustrative of the broader issues being revealed by tech businesses operating at the intersections of scientific breakthroughs, artificial intelligence, privacy, and civil liberties. Writing in TechCrunch, Matthew Howard asserts that the future of AI relies on an intentional, thoughtful code of ethics.

An Ethical Barometer

For several years, global communications firm Edelman has evaluated trust. Ostensibly not a direct measure of ethics, the research nonetheless asks participants to indicate how much they trust the institution “to do what is right.” A positive finding from 2018’s report is that employees increasingly trust their employer. In return, employees expect their leaders to lead on change and participate in societal improvement. Although some ethical situations may feel beyond our control, here is an opportunity for employees and for business leaders to advance ethical behavior and to generate meaningful employer-employee relationships.

Business Ethics Alliance

Dr. Bev Kracher is the head of the Business Ethics Alliance. Listen here to the full interview with ethics expert Dr. Kracher on the Lives Radio Show podcast.

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