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Ethical Business Isn't Nice, It's Fair

Posted On - 12/09/2014 11:29:29

What do you do when what's gone wrong concerns relationships with colleagues and attitudes to work generally? Last week we covered the issue of standards. How they help everyone perform at their best.

But what happens when things don't go as planned? When standards aren't met? And what happens when what's wrong doesn't concern a job or how customers are getting served?

How do you deal with the soft issues? When what's gone wrong concerns relationships with colleagues and attitudes to work generally?

In an ethical business all performance matters. Yet these things can be really tough to deal with. That's what this blog is about.

I don't like Mondays

When you're down you know you don't perform at your bestIssues between or about staff can be the hardest to deal with. The can get emotional and irrational. And the last thing you want is to be seen taking sides.

Do you relish resolving disagreements between your people?

Or enjoy trying to get someone to be more enthusiastic rather than spread doom-and-gloom?

All these things are key. People have a huge impact on each other.

When you're down you know you don't perform at your best - you're disheartened, demotivated, preoccupied.

Many times people feel bad and underperform at work because of the people around them. And it's unethical to have a business where this happens.

You can't just ‘muddle' by

No-one's suggesting the workplace can be perfect – it's full of people. No-one's suggesting the workplace can be perfect – it's full of peopleNo-one's suggesting the workplace can be perfect – it's full of people. But we do all prefer to ‘get along' and work in something not a war-zone. That means we tolerate and accommodate stuff about work and people we might not fully agree with. We make the best of things.

So questions, gripes, grievances and whinges go unresolved. They fester and potentially become resentments.

Expecting staff just to raise matters is naive – you are the boss and their employer. Unless you take the lead – unless you do something to make it OK – talking about these things easily, openly and constructively as part of your culture, simply won't happen. The first you know of issues is when they become a crisis. An ethical business just doesn't operate like this.

Posted On: Sep 12th, '14


2461 days, 16 hours, 59 minutes ago

Posts: 161


Interesting, as always John. You might talk about leadership styles as well. With so many SME's trying to manage down costs, ethics can and often does come a long way down the list. For example I have seen SME business leaders who manage through outright fear and this becomes the predominant culture. It leads to mistakes being hidden and staff blaming each other when things go wrong. Often SME's are driven to manage costs and owners and leaders often feel pressured to keep a tight rein on all expenditure. Helping and training such leaders to see "the long term" interests of the business is not easy. Often times they are poorly resourced to deliver any kind of CPD for staff and in many cases lack the motivation to develop staff. I have seen such leaders who will espouse an attitude of "I can get more staff to replace you" or "I made it on my own, why can't you".. Hardly an environment where sharing, learning & business ethics are likely to grow... I have also seen many examples of good practice and positive leaders who will try their best to develop and deliver an ethical business.
Posted On: Sep 15th, '14


2548 days, 14 hours, 40 minutes ago

Posts: 468


Hi PCC - thanks for the comments. Your point on style is spot on. I too see owners who behave just the same. Yet this behaviour is ultimately self defeating - those who are any good will leave leaving a business populated with the mediocre. So the business owner gets their just deserts! In our blog we're not advocating a negative style by asserting discipline is a good thing. Our angle is that everyone needs to be adult and honest about performance. The right way to deal with that is to be intolerant of it - but not from the point of punishment, it's all about development. Business owners need to be genuinely grateful that their staff chose to work for them. They should see their role as making sure their people continue to feel that way. The best way to do that is to appreciate their staff. And the best way to do that is to grow and develop them to be the best they can be.
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