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Ethical and Moral Behaviour

Let unswerving integrity be your watchword.
BERNARD BARUCH

We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give.
WINSTON CHURCHILL

Behaving in an ethical manner is not only the right thing to do, but also a way of developing relationships that will yield significant dividends in the long term. Behaving morally also enables you to sleep well at night. Consider these ideas:

  1. Avoid talking about people behind their backs, particularly if the comments are unflattering. Excuse yourself from any such discussions.

  2. Tell the truth. It might hurt, but it can be coated in kindness. Saying "This work stinks" is far less effective than "There are two mistakes here that need to be corrected. Can you help me?"

  3. Review your organization's values statement (if one is available). Try to tie your behaviour closely to those principles.

  4. Don't spend time spying on people. Have them take responsibility for their own actions. Don't rat on them for petty transgressions — only if security and theft are involved.

  5. If your peers do something you don't appreciate, point it out to them, not the boss. Be assertive and focus on the behaviour and not on the person.

  6. Respect copyright. Everyone copies ideas, but copying entire workbooks and manuals deprives the creator of the royalties owed to them. If you do get ideas from others, give them credit. It will demonstrate your integrity publicly.

  7. Be truthful. Keeping secrets and trying to be politically correct is stressful. Trying to behave as other people expect instead of being ourselves is denying our own right to feel good about who we are.

  8. Don't make hasty assumptions based on how people appear. Make sure to get to know them before deciding if you want to establish a relationship.

  9. Give credit where it's due. If, for example, you got help with a project that was particularly well received, let the people who dish out the brownie points know about those people who helped you. That way, you are demonstrating fairness. Equally important, you know you will be able to count on those same people when you need them in future.

  10. Be careful not to lie on your resumé. If you get caught, it will cost you your job or a potential job, and it could put your career into a tailspin.

  11. When dealing with colleagues, don't force your opinion on others by stating it as a fact. If you are stating it as a fact, back it up with data. If not, qualify your comment with "It's my opinion "

  12. Don't embarrass people publicly, especially your boss.

  13. Don't send memos to your boss's boss unless you've cleared them in advance.

  14. Copy your boss on memos sent outside your work area.

  15. Don't make commitments you can't keep. Doing what you say you intend to do will

    • energize you;

    • enhance your reputation;

    • save you time avoiding issues and people;

    • enlarge your circle of like-minded and -acting people;

    • keep your life simpler.


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