The Importance of Having a Good Ethical Appearance
By Mark S. Putnam(c) 2004 CTI
Within the role of issues in business ethics, image is everything. Image issues in business ethics means a lot. It's like you're on the cover of a business ethics magazine. Your business ethics problems reflect a great deal on the importance of business ethics you have in your workplace. Your physical appearance is just as important as your sales pitch. This is why you pay homage to the mirror each morning, picking out the right outfit, grooming, to show the world by your outward appearance that you are a serious professional. There is no questioning the fact that physical appearance is a critical component in how you are perceived, but what about your ethical appearance? This is where the role of ethics in business comes into play. The importance of business requires you to pay close attention to it.
Make no mistake; the ethical impression you leave with others communicates volumes about your character and the importance of business ethics you have. People will judge you more quickly and more deeply based on your actions rather than your clothes. No matter how clean your suit, leaving a soiled perception of your ethics can negate whatever outward impression you attempt to make. All it takes is one simple act or oversight to start the ball rolling. It can cause an unfortunate chain of events that may tarnish your reputation forever. Improving business ethics may be impossible afterward. Perhaps you found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe you're caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Or possibly you did something truly foolish and wish you could start over. Whatever the transgression, an indelible impression has been made and now you're trying to row upstream. Unfortunately, there is a part of our human nature that gets satisfaction in another's misfortune and rushes to pass judgment instantaneously. What happens after that fateful perception is made, you can't control. Business ethics issues are like this. It's like it was published in some kind of business ethics magazine or focus of some kind of business ethics research. Luckily, this kind of ethics magazine doesn't exist to illuminate your mistakes. Even without such business ethics research, gossip, hearsay, even outright lies are sure to have plenty of willing listeners and believers. Forget whatever you've heard about being judged fairly in a court of law, this is the real word. Having your character and business ethics judged by your fellow employees based on mere circumstance is about as final as it gets. The tragedy here is that once an ethical impression is made, there's little you can do to stop or repair it. The role of ethics in business is to help prevent this. Damage control may set the record straight to some extent, but a wounded reputation may be impossible to heal.
A crisis of ethical perception is not only a problem for liars, cheaters, and bad guys; it's a problem for everyone. The first line of defense with regard to ethics issues in workplace and business is to understand that you're not above the fray. Just because you're an honest person doesn't mean that you won't wake up tomorrow and find yourself in full-fledged ethical dilemma. We all have bouts of mistakes, sloppiness, miscalculation, panic, or bad judgment. Understanding our fallibility and being ethically cognitive of our day-to-day behavior helps enormously. If you're lucky, your conscience will do most of the watchful work for you. But beware that you don't close your eyes and let your guard down.
Another line of defense is to truly care about how others perceive your business ethical behavior. At any given time, even in the most mundane and insignificant actions of your workday, you are being judged. Think of your coworkers as judges at an Olympic-style event holding up numbers to evaluate your ethical performance. It's like you're in that ethics magazine again. Your business ethics problems are there for the entire world to see. When all is said and done, you hope to perform so that they will hold up tens and not ones. You should care what people think and want others to see you do the right thing because ethics important in business. You want to be defined on the basis of your good character.
Finally, you should avoid the appearance of impropriety all costs. Just as an attorney looks at every possible angle or potential problem, you too, must judge your business ethics actions in the same way. Leave no stone unturned. Cover your bases. Be transparent and open to scrutiny. Take time with careful consideration to make sure that your ethical position appears sound from every angle.
Don't leave others to second guess you. Perception is everything, not only in your looks but in your character. Understand the role of ethics in business. Treasure and protect your ethical reputation like a priceless commodity. Tomorrow, as you prepare and primp in the mirror for your best physical appearance at work, don't forget your ethical appearance. It costs you nothing to put on, but costs you dearly to lose.
Ethics issues in workplace and business arenas are Global Ethics University's specialty. Business ethics issues are such a large part of the image that your company portrays. Business ethics problems cost you dearly if you don't understand the importance of business ethics for sake of your image and health of your company. Improving business ethics and raising the ethical bar is what a Global Ethics University course can do. You might wonder, is ethics important to business? Yes, it is. Issues in business ethics are vital. You can't just read about it in a business ethics magazine or read about the most important business research of our day in some academic journal, it is about the real issues in business ethics that your employees face every day. Let Global Ethics University be your partner in improving business ethics for your company today.