What Ethical Types Do You Employ?

We All Have An Inner Compass That Guides Us In Making The Right Or Wrong Choices.

Whether or not we choose to follow it is another matter. In the work world you have employees where making ethical choices comes naturally and some who need some work in that department.

There are four different ethical types of people that are typically found in the workplace. These types include The Conformist, The Negotiator, The Navigator, and The Wiggler. It is up to you which one you will be or which ones you will employ.

  • The conformist is an employee who follows rules rather than questions authority figures.
  • The negotiator is someone who tries to make up rules as he goes.
  • The navigator is someone who, when confronted with a situation in which people are behaving unethically, is able rely on an innate ethical sense to guide his/her actions, even if these decisions aren’t easy.
  • The wiggler doesn’t give a lot of thought to what is right.

Ideally we would all be navigators, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. We must learn find our way through difficult choices and find a happy medium between the 4 different ethical types.

“If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing”. -Henry Kravis

The Ghost of Right or Wrong

Steve Maraboli said “Do what you think is right. Don’t let people make the decision of right or wrong for you.”

When we are put under pressure it is sometimes hard to decide between the decision that is right and then one that will please. Every one of us is brought up with an understanding of what is right and wrong.

In my book, ‘The Ethical Coach Leader’, the coach of a boys volleyball team is faced with a hard decision. His star player tested positive for steroids, but an important game is on the horizon. He must decide whether or not to say something and have him suspended from the team or keep quiet until after the big game.

The right decision is to report the student. This is the ethical decision because it sets the example that improving your performance using steroids is unacceptable. Although the right decision, it is a hard one because of the pressures from the school community to win. These are the types of decisions that many of face in all aspects of life. We must learn to rely on our Experience, our Education, our Examples, and our Environment when deciding what is the right and what is the wrong side of a decision.

“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and when people start getting it confused, that means they need to sit down with some real people.” -Chuck D


The Ghost of E-Information

“All we need to do is search the web and the answer will become clear. We can then get back to doing the things that are needed in this world.”

Unfortunately this statement is what many individuals think today. We live in a highly digital world where you can find almost any information you want on the internet. This a great resource for many things, however it is not a solve all. We cannot simply Google away our problems.

Dr. George Lundberg said “Information on the internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar”. The reality of the internet is anyone can freely put information out there whether it is fact or not. If you fell sick, you wouldn’t trust the internet with a diagnosis, you would go see your doctor. The same logic applies to other problems that may arise. We need to rely on our personal database that we have built through our experiences.

We have counsel all around us, and as we network with others that pool of counselors grows. It is important that we utilize our network of people and refer back to past experiences to solve our problems. That is the only way we can grow and learn as individuals.

Morals Matter

“There Are Some Things That Money Can’t Buy…Like Manners, Morals And Integrity.” – Unknown

It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you have no moral compass to guide your decisions. They say lead by example and that notion rings true. If your peers see you as a great ethical and moral leader, they will be inclined to follow your lead.

There are many ways to live a moral life. Some of those are listed here:

  • Respect others no matter who they are and expect the same from them.
  • Be helpful to others and ask for help when you need it.
  • Honor promises and obligations, and apologize when you can’t do so.
  • Stick with honesty and expect the same from others.
  • Acknowledge, validate or say thanks – whether in person or online.
  • Assume the best of others and understand they’re trying.
  • Remove yourself when someone’s best isn’t serving your best interests.

Building a strong moral compass gives people, a sense of integrity, which is a tool for obtaining a sense of self-worth and self-confidence – confidence that is not dependent upon the outside world, but an internal feeling.

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” – Laurence Sterne

Emphasizing Ethics

It Is Important That We Teach
Ethics To The Younger Generations!

The following is a list of books that can help us do just that:

Ethics 101 by John C. Maxwell

The one “standard” Maxwell recommends using in all situations is the Golden Rule: the precept that one should behave toward others as one would want others to behave toward oneself.

Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey

The key to dealing with the challenges that we face today, is the recognition of a principle-centered core within ourselves, as well as our organizations. Dr. Covey offers insights and guidelines that can help you apply these principles both at work and at home – leading to not only a new understanding of how to increase quality and productivity, but also to a new appreciation of the importance of building personal and professional relationships in order to enjoy a more balanced, rewarding, effective life.

Ethics {for the Real World}: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions In Work and Life by Ronald A. Howard and Clinton D. Korver

Minor ethical lapses can seem harmless, but they instill in us a hard-to-break habit of distorted thinking. Rationalizations drown out our inner voice, and we make up the rules as we go. We lose control of our decisions, fall victim to the temptations and pressures of our situations, taint our characters, and sour relationships.

The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse: How to Spot Moral Meltdowns In Companies…Before It’s Too Late by Marianne M. Jennings, J.D.

Don’t watch the next accounting disaster take your hard-earned savings, or accept the perfect job only to find out your boss is cooking the books. If you want to develop an understanding of the (not-so) ethical underpinnings of business today, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse is both a must-have tool and a fascinating window into today’s business world.