5 Unethical Phrases: Ignoring Boundaries
September 1, 2010 Leave a comment
Boundaries can be simply described as lines that we don’t cross when doing business. Respecting these (sometimes clear, sometimes hazy) boundaries is an important part of today’s ethical leadership.
The 5 phrases below signal that the speaker is ignoring an important ethical boundary:
1. “Please don’t tell Human Resources.”
2. “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but…”
3. “No one will find out.”
4. “I know that’s what they told you in Orientation, but we’re different here.”
5. “It doesn’t really hurt anybody. What are you so worried about?”
Which boundaries are being ignored?
Number 1 ignores the boundary of open employee access to HR, and indicates that what the speaker is doing would be stopped if HR knew about it.
Number 2 ignores confidentiality.
Number 3 ignores transparency and honesty, and indicates that the speaker is probably doing something that either violates a direct policy or law, or is considered inappropriate in a business setting.
Number 4 ignores corporate expectations and alignment with stated corporate culture.
Number 5 ignores the concerns of a fellow employee, and indicates that the speaker may be defining “harm” too narrowly.