What is ethics?  Often times it depends on who you are and where you come from.  It is often thought of as a set of rules regarding what is wrong and what is right.  Everyone has a different line that they may be willing to cross given a certain situation or circumstance.  Ethics are not actual laws, because they are not black and white.  Most societal standards are ethical in nature, but society can become corrupt and unethical and still follow the law (i.e. slavery, Nazi Germany).

So, how does ethics play into business?  Most people in business learn the golden rule of treat others as you would like to be treated.  Here are some principles that are incorporated into ethical business behavior:

Honesty – Business executives embody the quality of honesty that means they will not deliberately mislead others in business dealings.

Loyalty – Successful executives support their staff and are loyal to companies they work for by minimizing conflicts of interest and providing plenty of notice if they choose to leave their employment.

Compassion – Ethical executives work in a manner to accomplish goals that give the greatest good with the least amount of harm.  They are kind and great listeners because they truly care for their employees and their well-being.

Open-Minded – Being fair and open-minded is a great quality of an executive.  There should be a commitment to excellence, which means that they look at issues from all angles and refrain from jumping to conclusions without all of the facts.

Leadership – There must be leadership qualities in a successful business executive.  These type of leaders are role models and are valued for their ethical decisions and opinions.

Integrity – This quality means you are displaying honesty and strong moral principles.  This type of behavior involves a consistent character that abides by consistent standards.

How do you promote strong ethics in your workplace?  First, involves spending time recruiting and hiring the best.  Take the time interviewing and background checking your employees to ensure your workplace has high-quality, ethical individuals working at its core.  Secondly, develop your employees to understand ethical behavior and what is at risk if that behavior is not followed.  Questionable behavior can create a business culture that will fail.  Unethical behavior can also ruin a company’s reputation, which can ruin the business permanently.  Lastly, make sure that the business has a culture that allows employees to speak freely and truly be heard.  Employees that see misconduct should have a way to report it without fear of repercussion.

Ethical behavior is not something you can completely define, but it is something you can display with proper morals.  Being honest and displaying integrity is a perfect way to gain the trust of those around you.  If those around you believe in you and what you represent, they will be willing to support you in any way possible.  Loyalty in business can get you everywhere and will ensure your success. Showing compassion and displaying effective leadership will be the reason your success continues.

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