Are you an ethical person? Of course, if you were asked this at a job interview, you would answer with a resounding, “Yes!”, but if you were really being honest with yourself, what would you say? Do you uphold your moral standards or do you sometimes take the easy way out? In the work environment, your ethics can be put to the test. Here are some tips that will help you maintain your integrity, while keeping your job:
Do everything above board. When you are operating in the real world, it’s not always easy to distinguish between what is ethical and what isn’t. Even if something is routinely done by your coworkers, you should still stop to consider if the behaviour is right for you. In some organizations, employees regularly alter dates and other details just to make reports look better. A good test is whether or not you would want your actions published in the employee newsletter.
Take responsibility. Always stand behind your actions, particularly your mistakes. When you admit to your errors and take steps to correct them, you demonstrate professionalism and show your manager that you can be trusted.
Don’t gossip. Have you ever seen someone who is chummy with a coworker one minute and gossiping about them the next? When you talk about people behind their backs, it makes you look petty and mean. Your coworkers may start to wonder what you say about them when they aren’t there to hear.
Be prepared to take a stand. Living with integrity will sometimes put you in uncomfortable situations. There may be some occasions when you have to speak up to defend someone or to say that you think something is wrong. However, in the workplace it is important that you pick your battles. Don’t do anything that you believe is unethical, but make sure that you are always respectful to your coworkers.
When you’re trying to uphold your moral standards, the workplace can be tricky. You often feel like you need to tow the line or risk alienating your coworkers or even losing your job. However, you shouldn’t have to choose between your job and your ethics. Your coworkers may be annoyed that you think that something they are doing is wrong, but if you maintain your professionalism, they’ll get over it.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)