What happens when we aren’t diligent about ethical behavior? I don’t mean only the great lapses in judgment. I’m also talking about the “little nods” that happen on a daily basis because we are too busy to address them. Did you know that studies show employees have four ways of dealing with these confusing expedient nods? When employees watch us act contrary to our defined ethical standards (e.g., code of conduct), they often begin to demonstrate:
1. lowered productivity,
2. reduced quality of output,
3. increased absenteeism, and
4. voluntary resignation
I’ve posted a whole chapter of our customer contact book “The Ten Most (un)Wanted Villains” to what I like to call “Expedient Nods” at www.contactcenter.ning.com under the discussion group "Villains that steal customer contact success."
So how can customer contact leaders encourage their companies to act ethically? In addition to the advice we give in our The Ten Most (un)Wanted Villains chapter, consider what Miller and Jentz (2008, pp. 48-49) have to say. They indicate that there are four factors that define a leader committed to ethical leadership.
Have the right attitude: According to a survey quoted by Miller and Jentz the attitude and behaviour of a leader “sets the ethical tone” for the rest of the enterprise. A business leader must first examine his own attitude toward ethical behaviour, monitor his behaviour at all times, and correct any misalignment to ethical behaviour promptly. This will encourage the rest of the workforce to do the same.
Don’t look the other way: “Managers must show that they will not tolerate unethical business behaviour.”. As soon as a leader sees an ethical infraction it is critical that the leader address it immediately and effectively. The rest of the employees will understand from these honest and swift actions that a leader means what he says.
Set realistic goals: Leaders must understand what an enterprise is capable of attaining without succumbing to unethical behaviour. Should goals be set too high, employees may be tempted to achieve the goals by unethical means. It is the work of the leader to know the capabilities and the limitations of his team and to set expectations that are reasonable.
Provide periodic evaluation: Leaders can encourage ethical behaviour by periodically reviewing an employee’s behaviour. This can be accomplished through face-to-face interviews with the supervisor. Or, a company may prefer to have a standard ethical checklist that can be filled out by the supervisor or self-reported.
Are you experiencing any of the four factors in your organization? Could it be because of expedient nods? How do you keep your organization aligned to your code of conduct? How do you assess if there are any expedient nods happening in your organization?
Miller, R., & Jentz, G. (2008). Business law today: The essentials (8th ed.). Mason, OH: West Legal Studies in Business, an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, a part of the Thompson Corporation.
Posted by: Quote Catcher Call Center
at July 22, 2008 10:23 AM