As leaders we make choices every day about ‘right and wrong’ and about ‘good and bad’. We live with the tension of balancing what we may believe is the right thing to do versus what pragmatically we have the time and resources to achieve. Do we ever reflect if we put business results ahead of the mental well-being and engagement of our teams?
The challenge is that from many perspectives, ethics and ethical decision making may not be absolute. It may be related to the individual context and the question of whether we are talking about the right decision for the individual or for the organisation as a whole.
We need a basis for making our decisions –to justify them to ourselves and ensure we sleep at night. Here is a suggested path from the Bond and Firenze 2013 seminar on business ethics:
Recognise it’s an ethical issue
There is a need for a time out switch – something that says, ‘hang on a minute let’s stop and think this through’
Consider all parties who may be affected
Who may be impacted now and, in the future
What (else) do I know or need to know to make an informed decision
Formulate actions/consider alternatives
What appears to be the best course of action to take and do I need a contingency plan in place
Make a decision/review the decision
Whatever decision-making process or framework you would normally use, consider getting another view/perspective
At some stage, action is required. Consider how, when and where this needs to be communicated
Reflect on the outcome
Reflective practice is a key component of any leader’s toolkit, evaluating what worked and what might need to change is an integral part of the overall process
Andrew is an Aziz Executive Coach specialising in Ethical Leadership. He is passionate about organisations providing an inclusive culture, without the fear of discrimination or bias, whether conscious or unconscious. He works alongside senior leaders on ethical decision making to achieve a triple bottom line balance between people, planet and profit.