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Do the right thing, step by step

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Here’s a process for making ethical decisions. Run through this work sheet if you ever feel queasy about the path you or your organization is about to take.

What ethical dilemma are you struggling with?
  • What doesn’t feel right?
  • What feelings does it bring up?
  • What are the issues?
  • Why do these issues trouble me?
  • What are the facts?

What are my/my organization’s standards?

My standards
  • Review my values.
  • How do I usually resolve conflicts?
Organization’s standards
  • What policies, practices or written code of ethics exist in the organization?
  • What behaviors, values or decisions set those standards?

Develop a preliminary decision and analyze it.

  • Why do I want to do something about this dilemma?
  • Would the organization (or its customers or employees) want to do something about it?
  • Does my method produce the desired result?
  • Does this method meet my values?
  • Does it meet my standards?
  • Do I need more time to consider the best process/method to use?
  • Who could provide counsel?
  • Will this decision compromise any personal or professional standards?
  • How will this decision or action affect me in the short and long terms?
  • How will it affect others now and later?
— Adapted from “How to Make Ethical Decisions,” Lois B. Hart and Charlotte S. Waisman, The Leadership Training Activity Book, Amacom.

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