Living / working by a standard (a code of ethics), and knowing one standard is in place for everyone.
Choosing the high road when making decisions; remembering two wrongs don’t make a right.
Keeping transparency top of mind; having to engage in uncomfortable conversations with open dialogue.
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When I think of some of the greatest ethical leaders (the keyword here is “ethical”), a few immediately come to mind, based on what they’ve done for others. From Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, there’s no shortage of visionary leaders in history who have placed ethics and values first, tuned into their Ethics GPS, and have accomplished positive change for the good of humanity.
At the same time, fast forward to today, with leaders who take ethical “detours.” In their organizations, they’re seen as high performers and they’re known for making shareholders happy. Although they may say the right thing, they don’t always do the right thing, when it comes to the different stakeholders they serve. Sometimes the “Do No Harm” and “Do Well By Doing Good” mantras don’t apply to all parties involved.
For me, leadership and ethics go hand-in-hand. As my friend and colleague, Richard Bistrong, CEO of Front-Line Anti-Bribery LLC shared in a recent social media post, “If we are not careful, bad behavior can hide behind good performance, until it’s too late, for everyone.” Unfortunately, Richard is correct, the bad behavior is present, and it often goes unnoticed and also unquestioned.
When I wrote Answers for Ethical Marketers, the book’s mission was to help business professionals communicate with honesty, transparency, respect and objectivity, knowing that ethics and values were always leading the way. In my book, I discussed a number of steps business leaders could take to “Live” their values, demonstrate ethics daily and “walk” the ethics “talk.” Among the top suggestions included were:
In my video, I share more about how to “walk” the ethics “talk: and to evaluate whether you and the leaders around you demonstrate ethics in every communication and business interaction.
As a leader, are you simply talking about ethics or are you living your ethics and values?
I’ve been writing a lot about the Modern Communicator and answering questions that have flowed in through Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn and Facebook. Who is the Modern Communicator? What does it take to become one, and how can you be more effective with your communication, whether it’s for your professional brand or your business? All great questions. My article, “If You’re a Modern Communicator, Then You THINK AHEAD” addresses these questions.
However, there’s one fundamental quality of the Modern Communicator that has to become an automatic part of your practice. It’s your ability to make tough choices, and to move outside of your comfort zone, as the communications landscape continues to evolve. Here’s where you have to trust your gut and know when to shift into your “uncomfortable zone.”
I’ll share a little story with you. In 2014, Richard Bistrong, a former international sales executive, contacted me after he was released from prison. He had read my books while he was incarcerated for 14 months. When he reached out, he asked if I would help him with his messaging for the media , work with him to navigate social media, and to rebuild his damaged reputation.
Here’s where, as a Modern Communicator, I had to make a choice. Should I step out of my comfort zone to take on this account? Should I align my work and brand with someone I had never met before, and I’m only first learning about his story? Even some of my closest colleagues said I shouldn’t take the assignment (all good intentioned professionals). I rose to the occasion and decided to work with Richard.
Richard and I will be discussing the details his journey in a Fireside Chat at the FPRA 80th Annual Conference on August 7th in Jacksonville, Florida. Until then, here’s a little bit about the Richard’s story (from the Modern Communicator’s perspective).
Of course, if you’d like to know more about my journey with Richard, you can email either of us at Deirdre@PurePerformanceComm.com or RichardTBistrong@gmail.com.