Common ethical issues for leaders
In the business world decisions are made daily. Some of these decisions are determined by our moral character and mutual respect for fellow workers. However, there are cloudy moments of testing where the answers are not as simplistic because the outcome ultimately challenges the consistency of a leader's standards and future judgment. Here are some ethical issues that leaders whether political, business related, or spiritual may have to encounter.
Sexual Harassment and Gender Equality
A person should often think in the work environment, So I want to be treated the way I treat people? If Gender Equality is important to you as the leader of your domain, then men and women should show equal respect to one another as a common courtesy. One way to lose respect would be to commit openly acts of sexual harassment or to allow this behavior at work to flourish. According to aauw.org, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 generally describes sexual harassment as sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature. In a 2013 story from the Huffington Post, it was reported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that in 2012 they received 7,500 charges of workplace sexual harassment.
Bullying and Lack of Discipline
Many Americans feel they are bullied in their place of work. Whether it be interns being pushed around by fellow co-workers, senior co-workers bossing around newer recruits, or any threatening body language to another individual, these actions can cause anger, issues with productivity, and negative communication within your company. According to the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey February 2014, bosses are still the majority of bullies and 72 percent of employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize, or defend it. The full version of the report later says that 37 million US workers report being subjected to abusive conduct 65.6 million are affected (those abused + those who witness it). Here's the problem: lack of discipline. Should you choose to ignore these types of actions it can result in a physical confrontation, unnecessary drama, and possibly losing some of your best workers. These matters should be taken seriously and a large number of bullying victims remain silent because of how often their employer pushes these allegations to the side as being petty or undeserving of investigation.
Is hiring your relatives or close friends okay? If they are right for the job fine, but know that they shouldn't be treated any different than your fellow co-workers who have put time and effort into your company. Many family-owned businesses hire relatives. This is fine, but they also deserve the respect of being properly trained just like any other employee.
According to Government Ethics by Judy Nadler and Communications Director Miriam Schulman of Santa Clara University, “when someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.” When it comes time to implement discipline if necessary be prepared to receive upsetting phone calls from your relatives and family members. But also remember, even if you spend the time training a family member and they are in fact a qualified match for the position it doesn’t mean they are the best fit. You may have another employee outside the family that has more love and ambition for the job. As an employer and owner, you need to be able to discern the difference.
Favoritism and Double Standard
Appropriate relationships with your co-workers is important and unfortunately there will be individuals who you will enjoy more than others. That’s fine. Favoritism largely occurs when one of your fellow co-workers shows up late but is treated differently than others which leads to the double standard allegation you will probably want to avoid. Not every form of favoritism is initially negative. For example, you can bestow upon another co-worker additional tasks because the other workers will probably not succeed in accomplishing the task. While this may seem positive this type of action can result in the first worker feeling overwhelmed and the other co-workers resenting that individual which leads to negative communication. Mark Payleitner business career program instructor at Computer Systems Institute says, when a boss assigns a critical, high-profile project to one individual, she hopefully selects the best person for the job. But when she gives a friend the office with the best view based on no other criteria, that crosses into favoritism.
Still, you don’t want to pile on extra work for your best employees without giving them the tools to succeed. Consider teaming them up with a less experienced employee as a mentor. You may find they have great leadership potential which could add to your bottom line and the mentee gets more experience to take on tougher jobs.