Here are our 12 principles that form the basis of business ethics, and are what you need to hold yourself accountable to:
You need to be honest in all of your actions, and every communication you make. When people see you making honest decisions, they start to trust your company because you’re not only being truthful, you’re being upfront and candid. People appreciate the fact they can take you at your word, as customers only ever do business with those they trust. Being an ethical executive means you do not deceive others by misrepresenting the facts, overstating and exaggerating or only giving partial truths. If you’ve inadvertently given the wrong impression, provide the relevant information to your customers and correct their misunderstanding as soon as possible.
Being ethical in business means maintaining a high level of personal integrity. This is how you earn the trust of others, whether they are your customers, team or your superiors. In this definition integrity means having a consistent character that is demonstrated by an alignment of your thoughts, words and action. Sometimes it requires you to have moral courage to do the right thing, and it takes inner strength to live up to mistakes and admit when a fault has been made. Despite a great pressure to do otherwise, ethical business managers live by a moral code they believe in, principles to maintain and they fight for their beliefs – without sacrificing their honor for the sake of just getting a job done.
Your word is one of the most important tools in your arsenal as a business manager. Keep every promise that you make, and always fulfill a commitment. The trust you build as an ethical executive means people like doing business with you, as you take every reasonable effort to fulfill not only the letter, but the spirit of the promises and commitments you have made. Don’t ever twist your words to rationalize or get out of contracts, or justify why it’s okay to not comply to a commitment. Just do what you said you were going to
You need to be loyal both to your company, your team and yourself, while operating within a strong moral compass. If you demonstrate your loyalty, it builds trust, and shows that you place a high value on advancing the interests of both the company and your colleagues. You should not ever place loyalty above your other principles, or use it as an excuse for unethical behavior. Demonstrate your loyalty, but always make an independent judgment, and never use information that you have gained in confidence for your own personal advancement. Steer clear of conflicts of interest, and if you ever decide to leave your company do it on the best of terms. Give reasonable notice, respect any information that was gained in your former employer, and never engage in activities that take advantage of a previous position that was held.
In all of your actions, you must strive to be fair and just. An ethical executive is committed to fairness in all that they do, and do not seek to exercise their power for an unfair advantage or use indecent methods to gain a competitive edge. They also never take undue advantage of another person’s difficulties and mistakes. Being an ethical executive means that you are committed to being fair, employ justice in your decisions and treat all people equally, with tolerance and acceptance of diversity. Being fair also means being open minded, admitting when they have made a mistake, and adjusting their beliefs and positions when it is appropriate.
This involves having a genuine concern for others, as well as a sense of compassion. An ethical business manager is caring, benevolent and kind to both customers and staff, and seeks to reach their goals while causing the least amount of harm and the greatest amount of good. Being caring means understanding that there will be an impact on every stakeholder following a decision, and they always consider the financial, emotional and long term business consequences of an action. They don’t simply discount the needs of others.
Being ethical means treating everyone with respect, demonstrating this by being courteous and having an equal treatment of people regardless of who they are. Respect is given because everyone deserves dignity, privacy and rights, and they adhere to the rule that you must strive to treat others the way you would like to be treated.
An ethical executive always obeys the law, and never breaks the rules, regulations or laws surrounding their business activities.
Being ethical in business is also about pursuing excellence in everything that you do. Delivering the highest quality of service or products makes business sense, especially if there is a constant endeavor to always improve.
You need to demonstrate the principles and ethics you want your team to live by, and take an active role as a leader to be a positive role model. The best way you can enforce an ethical mentality is to lead by example, and creating an environment within your business that values decisions made on principles and standards of ethics.
Ethical business managers enhance the good reputation of a company, which at the same time boosts the morale of its employees. The company reputation is very important, as well as the pride and morale of their employees. As an ethical business manager you need to avoid taking actions that undermine this respect, and they take action to correct any inappropriate behavior of others.
Being ethical means holding yourself accountable, and acknowledging and accepting personal accountability for their decisions, and any consequences. Not just personally, but an ethical manager will stand up and take accountability in front of their colleagues, their company, and the community.