How Ethical Are You? Answer These 5 Questions …

Look, look, there he is. Yeah, I see ‘em. Come on, let’s go – we gotta head him off before he gets back into his office. I’m gonna get him first … not before me!

As you walk the halls of your business the employees make obvious efforts to greet you and do their best to become “known”. They know just a mention of their name from “the boss” may lead to future opportunities. You wield power and prestige. Your decisions chart the course for the company and the employee’s careers. With sound judgment, logical reasoning and nerves of steel you’ve built this business to the powerhouse it is today. You’ve made great decisions. But how ethical have your decisions been?

There are 2 kinds of leaders:

✅ One who mentors, coaches and brings out the best in others

✅ One who leads his/her company to success that’s built on the shattered hopes and dreams of others.

Which are you?

A few months ago a friend of mine shared a unique list of questions that must be asked when making business, or even social, decisions. These 5 questions focus on the underlying effect these decisions have on people. These questions also drill down on you, the decision maker. How comfortable are you with these decisions?

5 Questions That Prove How Ethical You Really Are

1. Is The Decision Legal?

It’s bad enough for you to do something illegal but to ask your employees to do the same is criminal. People want to do an “honest  day’s work” for an honest day’s pay. Yes, that old fashioned phase is still appropriate today. So why should your employees put their future in jeopardy because you want to take illegal shortcuts?

2. Is The Decision Fair?

I must admit that I’ve used the term “life isn’t fair” many times. Can we even make a decision that’s fair to everyone involved? Maybe, maybe not. When developing a new procedure ownership / management has an obligation to assess the repercussions of the decision and ensure there’s no inherent bias or favoritism that will rear its ugly head later on. This leads to question 3…

3. Does The Decision Hurt Anyone?

Do you even consider those around you when making decisions? Or do you intentionally disregard the potential negative repercussions? Every decision will affect people differently, and some more than others. Using a method traditionally applied to training programs, the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) gives a better picture of how a decision touches others. We must take this into consideration when weighing the pros and cons of our actions.

4. Have I Been Honest With Those Affected?

Some decisions are difficult to make. Terminating an employee, breaking up with a partner or relocating your family for a new job are some of the most difficult decisions we make. We must use clear, concise and accurate words when dealing with situations that make a change in the lives of others. It’s so much easier to tell the truth, do you agree? No lies to remember, no made-up facts to string together and you’ll have a clear conscience.

5. Can I Live With My Decision?

As a leader my decisions affect others. Every action I take brings success or failure to those who’ve put their faith in me. Being able to sleep well at night, knowing that my name is as good as the work I perform and the value I bring to my business means a lot. Once we lose our integrity, our word & our values, what else is left but just a shadow of what could be.

The next time you have a difficult decision to make, look back on this post. Ask yourself these 5 questions that prove how ethical you really are. I know you’ll make the right decision.


Steve DiGioia
Steve DiGioia
With 20+ years in the hospitality industry and a lifetime of customer service experience, Steve DiGioia shares real-world tips and tactics to improve your customer service, increase employee morale, and provide the experience your customers desire. As a certified trainer, author & speaker, Steve has been recognized as a 4-time “World’s Top 30 Customer Service Professional” by Global and a “Top Customer Service Influencer” by multiple industry-leading sources. He is also a featured contributor to the leading hospitality and customer service websites. With a tagline of “Finding Ways to WOW Your Customer”, Steve continues his pursuit of excellence on his award-winning blog sharing his best strategies on customer service, management, and leadership. Follow Steve on Twitter @Steve DiGioia.

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  1. Really educational topic. Thank You.
    Ethics is not a certain horizon of answers “act like this and you will do well”, but it corresponds to a horizon of questions “did I do well? Could I do better? “, Where the good transformed in the best is the concretely human way of facing the universal.
    These are parameters that no man can definitively calculate, or rather no man can definitively calculate the effects of his action on the world. However, what one can decide to do is form an ever richer and more precise knowledge of the world in order to be able to evaluate, with an always better approximation, the quality of the effects of their action choices. From this point of view, the best has its own specific scope of realization in the ethical duty of knowing better the space of my existence, which is inevitably also that of others. It is a path of freedom that finds its nourishment in cultural education and in the growth of critical awareness.

    • Hi Aldo, hope you are well. The old adage still rings true: “do what’s right”. Too bad many don’t follow this logic.

  2. Not to be political, but some people on Congress should read this. As for me, giving the good and strength’s of all you have to mentor and bring about future leaders is so important, yet if it is not done, the results are what you see today “Deterioration” and lack of leadership.

    • Hi Lynn, I agree and wish our politicians would take these suggestions to heart. But alas, we know that won’t be the case. Self-interest always wins out. Thanks.