- February 18, 2020
- Posted by: hpiadmin
- Category: Leadership, Power Ideas
Unless an individual is a sociopath or psychopath, people know the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, this is not the same as doing the right thing.
- ‘Knowing’ is the moral foundation to do the right thing.
- ‘Doing’ is having the courage to do the right thing.
True leaders must possess and then demonstrate that they have the courage to do the right thing, every time.
So, what is “courage”? It’s the ability to move forward despite the consequences. We know about physical courage; think of our military & first responders.
Moral courage is different. Wanting to do the right thing is not the same as doing the right thing.
When people are confronted with challenges, they can come up with reasons to hold firm or, reasons to collapse. Challenges of a high level are different from those at a low level. For example: a customer-facing worker knows they should show up on time every day, not steal, treat the customer with respect and treat their co-workers with respect. The moral temptations to not live up to these basic standards are low-level, and most of us can withstand them.
What are some higher-level pressures? Sometimes telling the truth has unpleasant consequences. One example: would you comply with your boss’s instructions to hide a product or service flaw if doing so could cause injury to the organization’s operation or reputation? Would you simply shrug and go along with what the boss said, regardless of the negative impact? Or would you gather the moral courage & go to a more senior person in the organization and advise them of the problem?
Another example is peer pressure. People naturally form groups, socially and at work. People with lower moral courage may find themselves, ‘going along to get along’ especially when they perceive the rest of the group is conducting themselves in a certain way. This can include treating an individual or individuals in their work group disrespectfully, spreading rumors, innuendo, etc. This damages the group and the organization as a whole.
It all falls back to a very simple approach, ‘the Golden Rule’. Picture yourself as the ‘boss’. Wouldn’t you want to have one of your employees give you a ‘heads up’ if there was an issue with your product or service? Or, picture yourself as a co-worker. How would you feel if people were spreading rumors and innuendo about you? Wouldn’t that make you angry, hurt, & resentful?
The funny thing is, when you start doing the right thing all the time, your personal life and your work life become less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.