Watch out for these three ways your moral judgment can be hijacked:
1. You lie to yourself. “I think it’s OK to do this,” you might say. That’s because you want to see something sketchy as better than it really is.
2. You rationalize. “I know it’s wrong,” you admit, “but I have a good reason.” That reason may be that you’re under pressure to meet a short-term goal, which can make lousy decisions look fine. For instance, you might rationalize that your family’s financial security is your top goal, and you’ll do whatever it takes to keep the money coming, even if it means acting unethically.
3. You disengage. “It’s not my problem,” you say. Discouraged leaders leave critical issues unresolved because they no longer care. If success and failure feel the same, disengaged leaders check out. They can take down an organization pretty quickly.
Bottom line: In such a toxic environment, you have two choices: Tackle problems head-on or get out so that someone else can.
— Adapted from The 3 Power Values, David Gebler, Jossey-Bass.