Friday, September 19, 2014

Are You Ethically Challenged?

(Photo credit: University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
by Al Mozingo

Let me ask you a couple of questions about the title of this article. Do you have high ethical standards? Do you think about the ethical aspect of your decisions? Does your organization have a Values and Ethics Statement? Are you conforming to the Values and Ethics Statement? Is your ethical stance and that of your workplace compatible? These are just a couple of questions that you must ask yourself and answer in regards to ethics today.

In general, I believe that most people want to be considered honest, up front, and one that can be counted on. Are you a person that people go to, in regards to something that they believe may be unethical, for your person opinion? We all should strive to become a person with high moral principles. A person in which people want to deal with because we feel they are honest.

Over the years I have had people come to me for input about ethical issues. I believe in being honest and up front. Sometimes I can be too honest. You might ask, “How can you be too honest.” What I am saying is you don’t have to always answer questions that someone asks. I use to answer questions that would put someone in an unfavorable light, because I wanted to be honest, I wanted to tell the truth. I can tell you that from personal experience, it can be a big problem. There are times as a supervisor, you do not need to answer the question and divulge information that is not really beneficial.

I have also had times where people “Jump to Conclusions.” Do you ever do this? We need to guard against ourselves judging another by jumping to conclusions I have seen several instances where people believe they are so smart that they know exactly why a person did something. In the end, they were completely off base and could not be further from the truth. The habit of deciding why a person does something is a bad habit to form! Some people do not even know why they did something themselves.

If you are a person of high integrity: Do you show it by your actions of kindness and compassion? You should always try to communicate effectively with empathic listening and understanding. Show a little kindness and compassion to another person. Be considerate, show some flexibility with your thinking and have tolerance towards others.

By being a person who looks for a “Win-Win” you can focus on right thinking. Try to do what is right, “Do the Right Thing.” One mindset that can help you to this end is the “Golden Rule.” With the “Golden Rule” we treat others the way we would want to be treated. As a supervisor, I always try to be fair and impartial. Treat your people with respect, showing a caring attitude toward them.

As a leader people are always watching your actions. Do your actions match with what you say? Try to stay above and beyond reproach. I know it is almost an impossible task - but, try! Speaking up when you see an injustice is certainly something you should do. Focus on “The Right Thing.” As your standard on how you treat people, use “The Golden Rule.” Maintain a caring attitude when dealing with other people. To help with your own ethical decision making, to help you stay on the right ethical path, use the following two charts. Good Luck!


1. Do you ever make assumptions about people?
2. Do you really know why someone does something?
3. Is assuming something about someone productive and positive?
4. When you assume something are you always 100% correct?
5. Can assumptions cause one to jump to conclusions?
6. Is jumping to conclusions constructive?
7. Is everyone motivated the same?
8. Do you really know what someone's motives are?
9. Do you ever judge why someone does something?
10. Can you really judge the intentions of another?
11. Are these judgments always 100% correct?
12. Do you ever state these judgments orally?
13. When criticizing someone do you know all the facts?
14. Is criticizing a person constructive or destructive?
15. Does everyone think the same or perceive things the same?
16. Why don't all people think the same or perceive things the same?
17. Do you ever draw premature conclusions?
18. Is the communication process perfect?
19. Have you ever been involved with miscommunication?
20. Have you ever had conflict because of miscommunication?
  • We all need to strive for understanding and to be understood! 
  • Please give someone the benefit of the doubt! 
  • Exhibit a loving and caring attitude when dealing with people! 
  • Ask yourself: Is your heart in the right place? 
  • Do you realize that making assumptions, drawing premature conclusions, making judgements and jumping to conclusions can affect your leadership style?
"It is difficult to negotiate with those who do not share the same frame of reference." ~ Nelson Mandela

1. Do you have all the facts?
2. Have you made any false assumptions?
3. How much time do you have to make the decision?
4. Have you considered the individual, organization, and the community?
5. Have you factored in any of your own values?
6. Are you striving to do the “Right Thing”?
7. Are you striving for a “Win-Win” outcome?
8. Are you consistent, treating everyone fair and impartial?
9. Develop options (choose the best and choose a second alternative plan)?
10. Consider pressure, cost, personal gain, limited resources, convenience, etc.
11. Consider the consequences.
12. Is your choice based on ethic decision making?
13. Implement the decision.
14. Evaluate the outcome (Are changes needed?).
15. If a change is needed, start with number one again.

Apply the Golden Rule:  Are you treating others, as you would want to be treated?

Reprinted with the permission of the author. Al Mozingo is certified in Organizational Development and Leadership Training. If you would like to contact him, see his website.

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