Sunday, September 6, 2009
Ethical choices: Effective communication requires a commitment to ethics – the principles of conduct that govern a person or a group. Unethical people re usually selfish and unscrupulous, saying or doing whatever it takes to achieve an end. Ethical people on the other hand are generally trustworthy, fair and impartial, respecting the rights of others and concerned about the impact of their actions on society. This is defined as ‘knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is the right thing to do’. Ethics plays a crucial role in communication. Language itself is made up of words that carry values. So merely by saying things in a certain way, we influence how others perceive our message and shape their expectations and behavior. It includes all relevant communication, is true in every sense and is not deceptive in any way. Ethical communication does not: Manipulate Discriminate Exaggerate Hide negative information behind superficial optimism Play around with data Allow personal preferences to influence perceptions An ethical dilemma may arise when one is confronted with a tough choice or grappling with grey areas. Where would you draw the line..? At the very least you owe your employer an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay – your best efforts, obedience to the rules, a good attitude, respect for the company property and a professional appearance. Such duties and considerations seem clear cut, but where does your obligation to your employer end? The ethics involved in some situations seem perfectly unambiguous… until you think about them. For instance where would you do draw the line in communication situations such as the following? - writing your resume so that an embarrassing lapse won’t be obvious - telling your close friend about your company’s upcoming merger right after mailing the formal announcement to the share holders - hinting to a coworker that it’s time to look for something new, when you have already been told confidentially that he/she is scheduled to be fired at the end of the month - saying nothing when you see one employee taking credit for another’s successful idea - preserving your position by presenting yourself to supervisors as the only person capable of achieving an objective - buying one software package for use by three computer operators - making an excuse when for the fourth time this month you have to pick up your child from school early and miss an important meeting -Calling in sick because you are taking a few days off and you want to use up some of the sick leave you’ve accumulated. As a supervisor: What ethical behavior would you expect from your team that isn’t mentioned here? How would you deal with gossip mongers? Identify the necessary direction of communication, suggest an appropriate type of communication and briefly explain your suggestion: Announcing details of a company picnic Convincing top management of the need for an internal newsletter Making sure that both the sales manager and finance manager receive your scheduling estimates Helping employees understand the company goals and its attitudes towards the workers.