We all have a good sense of what’s right or wrong.
We have an inherent ability to talk ourselves into believing that something that’s wrong is really alright.
We’re all very good at this, especially when under pressure.
  • It is said that Leadership is a moral activity.
  • When done well, it raises people up and brings out their best. Successful ends do not justify unethical means.
  • For this the journey and the destination must both be based on moral principles if we are to get people to follow us willingly from their hearts.
  • People follow the herd, even if the herd is charging off a cliff. They don’t want to be out of step or seem foolish.
  • So, we get to hear, “Business is business.” Such pronouncements are absurd. Business is based on trust. We buy your product trusting it will perform as indicated. You sell your product trusting we will pay you on time. Without trust, commerce begins to break down.
  • A terminated employee is told, “It’s not personal. It’s just business.” Ridiculous. Business is business and personal too. For the one being fired, it’s very personal. I wonder, when will HR understand this - this is still the Old lumpy thinking of Personnel Management and Industrial Relations Days !
We all know the industries that are “dirty,” i.e., industries in which unethical practices are commonplace.
We all know banks which bundle toxic assets and dump them on unsuspecting clients.
Sometimes leaders rationalize unethical behavior because they feel a greater good is preeminent. The cover-up inevitably surfaces and the loss of trust is again devastating.
Ethical dilemmas are sometimes hard to sort out. Leaders need judgment to find the true ethical path.
When it comes to ethics, we are all tested in our careers.

We all face ethical challenges and dilemmas, and all the more so if we lead.