The start of a new year is often a time of self-reflection and personal improvement. As I began 2015, I reviewed John Maxwell's Ethics 101.
It's filled with stories that explain common ethical pitfalls, recommendations for how we should strive to live, and thought-provoking quotes that challenged my way of thinking. While I don't agree with all of Maxwell's points, it's worth the short read.
Ethics 101 has too many interesting concepts to cover in one article. For that reason, I selected five of my key takeaways from the book, and added questions for you to consider:
1. In the American marketplace, 70% of the people who leave their jobs do so because they do not feel valued.
In what ways can you make your coworkers feel more valued?
2. Few people set out with a desire to be dishonest, but nobody wants to lose. Decisions, not conditions, should determine your ethics.
To what extent are you willing to compromise your integrity for temporary gain?
3. Inaction is also a decision. 75% of people observe unethical behavior, and choose not to act.
Are you afraid of being labeled a "snitch?" What other strategies can you use to influence your coworkers to change their behavior?
4. "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." - George MacDonald
Has anyone who loved you ever told you they don't trust you? I have. It hurts. Trust me.
5. "The respect of those you respect is worth more than the applause of the multitude." - Arnold Glasow
Who do you respect the most? How can you carry yourself in a way to merit that person's respect for you?
You can pick up a copy of Ethics 101 online for less than $10. Or, I recommend checking your local library. Although Maxwell doesn't differentiate between business ethics and personal ethics, it is a good resource for ethical leaders to have in their toolkits.
Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.
— Ryan W. Hirsch
Program Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust