"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
In these uncertain times, sales leaders and business owners wonder how to make the best decisions, both at work and in their personal life. While there's no scientific formula to follow, you can use a framework to lead with ethical intelligence.
Bruce Weinstein, a business ethics speaker and an author for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, says now's the time to reflect on some powerful principles that will help you navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Principle No. 1: Do no harm. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and clinical social workers are taught in school, "First, do no harm." Weinstein says this principle also applies to professionals who don't work in healthcare. The best thing about this principle, Weinstein says, is that it doesn't take anything to apply it. It is a principle of restraint. You can apply this principle by following your company's guidelines, as well as those of the government, by staying home now. Weinstein says if you're carrying the virus but don't know it because you don't have any symptoms and haven't been tested, you will be unwittingly violating the "Do No Harm" principle by being out in the world.
Principle No. 2: Make things better. Ethical leaders are also committed to making things better during the pandemic. Consider Microsoft, which donated $1 million toward the Puget Sound response fund. Microsoft is doing this because it is the right thing to do. Weinstein says this is a great example of how ethical leadership is good for its own sake and good for the leader's company, too.
Principle No. 3: Respect others. According to Weinstein, ethical leaders show respect for people by keeping their promises, telling the truth and projecting confidentiality. When you work from home, there are more distractions than you'll find in an office setting. There's no one watching to keep you on track. All pose risks to the promises we've made to employers or clients. Weinstein says promise-keeping is a two-way street. Companies that lead with ethical intelligence do all they can to assist employees during a crisis, including providing flexibility, when possible, with respect to childcare and other crucial needs.
Principle No. 4: Be fair. Weinstein says that to be fair is to give to others their due. Darden Restaurants, whose properties include Olive Garden and other casual eateries, has established a paid sick-leave policy for its 190,000 employees. In so doing, the leadership of Darden Restaurants is displaying ethical intelligence. Not all companies are in a position to offer such a benefit but those that can create incredible loyalty among employees.
Think on this: What will you do to ensure that you're treating your employees and customers fairly during the pandemic? What are you doing in your personal life to be fair—such as when stocking up on supplies, will you leave enough for others who need them, perhaps more than you do?
It takes commitment and courage to live by these principles every day. But when you do, you show that you're striving to make a difference in a tumultuous time in history.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: As The Ethics Guy®, Bruce Weinstein's keynote speeches, training programs, webinars and online courses help companies promote ethical leadership at every level. The result is an engaged and satisfied workforce, more and better clients, and a strategy for long-term financial success.