How To Handle An Ethical Dilemma in the Workplace
“A crisis can…tempt people to suspend or apply different values in response to the changed circumstances, but the innovation and nimbleness required should be based on a constant moral framework. In a crisis your values are your strength.”Vanessa Pigrum, CEO, Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership
Ethical principles should be at the heart of every business decision, but sometimes they can be overwhelmed by other considerations. “We often think that acting unethically is confined to the extremes of fraud or corruption but ethical dilemmas occur every day in every workplace, and can be so mundane we are blind to them,” Vanessa says.
The ethical dilemmas many already face in the course of their work, from being asked to use questionable sales tactics through to discovering full-blown corporate corruption, may increase as the coronavirus pandemic pushes some businesses into crisis mode.
Vanessa suggests one approach to resolve dilemmas is to consider the greater good and who is likely to be disadvantaged by the decision, then speak up and ask questions. “Road test it with some trusted peers or mentors and think through the most effective way to get your message across,” she says.
Having strong ethical principles in place and continuously working to strengthen your ethical practice gives you an enduring framework to fall back on during times of stress and uncertainty, and a solid base for decision-making when much else is fluid.