Field research finds time and time again that how managers behave has more significance on how employees behave and their willingness to accept ethical accountabilities than EXCO teams or CEOs. Such managerial influence brings important ethical responsibilities often not made explicit to newly appointed managers and team leaders.
Reflecting on your managerial style is the first step to improving your ethical skill development and can begin by reflecting on these four indicators from ethics field research. Positive responses will indicate you are actively addressing the ethical dimension of management:
1. My team describes me as a fair manager
2. I know the strengths of individual team members
3. I know what might make my team do the wrong thing
4. I know how my personal biases shape my managerial style
For those not quite there yet and still aspiring, key steps include:
- Leading by example by talking about why the organisation’s values matter and linking them to how things get done. Sharing personal challenges in promoting values-based decisions to nurture psychological safety
- Reviewing mindsets about management moving towards a mentoring style that promotes trust
- Investing time in getting to know team member’s strengths, needs and preferences to empower them
- Prioritising clarity on KPI’s while ensuring staff have the necessary resources to do their best work
- Purposely designing your team’s culture to ensure it is inclusive and maintaining supervising communications to promote well-being
- Regularly checking in with the team about existing ethical challenges or values tensions to encourage two-way communications
- Mastering the skill of empathy to promote fairness and effective communications
Most of us see ourselves as ethical people. Our ability to live up to our ethical ambitions depends on acquiring the skills necessary to respond to contextual challenges and maintaining a commitment to ensuring our impacts stay positive.
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