Publications & Products
Volume 2, Issue 15

Promoting Ethics in the Office

Managers should set an ethical framework for how their employees should behave in the workplace, says a leadership specialist.

Michael Josephson—president of a nonprofit organization that works to increase ethical awareness, commitment and behavior in the workplace—recently spoke with Entrepreneur about what leaders can do to promote ethics within their organizations.

He suggests that leaders:

  • Make their expectations clear. Josephson says that leaders should teach employees what they mean by ethical behavior. He suggests that leaders write down expectations when it comes to ethical decision-making in their employee handbook or in other documentation that employees receive on their first day. He also notes that leaders should give guidelines for when employees should turn to their managers for guidance and how to report unethical behavior that they see around the workplace.
  • Enforce their policies. There should be consequences when ethical breaches happen. Josephson says, for example, "If your top performer is cheating on an expense report or lying to [colleagues], you're not just tolerating the behavior—you're teaching other employees to be unethical as well."
  • Be their own change agent. "The best-laid ethics policies won't matter if you don't walk your talk," Josephson says. "Employees watch you for cues about how they're expected to act. When you cut ethical corners, they notice and are likely to think the behavior is okay."

This article is from the Oct. 8, 2012 issue.

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