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The Ethics of Being a Manager

December 19, 2011

We hear about ethics in business all the time.  We talk about doing the right thing, about making the right choice, dealing with that hard decision.  We require classes that teach how to evaluate decisions and arrive at the ethical decision.  But we seldom talk about the ethics of being a manager and how that impacts our interaction with people.

We joke about being in management and getting those so-called big bucks – but there’s a reason we have that title, and there are responsibilities that go hand in hand with it.  Sometimes it sucks, and seems the rewards are few and far between. But that’s part of the job.  As the manager, our responsibility is managing our team, and reviewing their work.  If something goes wrong, it’s our job to step up, take responsibility and then ensure that it doesn’t occur again.  We don’t throw the junior to the wolves, and blame them.  We have the final responsibility to make sure it’s right.  And that means making the ethical, responsible choice to suck it up and take responsibility regardless of the fact that we didn’t actually make the mistake – bottom line, it’s our responsibility to manage the team in such a way that the mistakes get caught before they get out of the department.

And when things go right?  We give credit to the team members who delivered.  Always.  Say thank you, and then highlight the players.  Never take credit for someone else’s efforts.

Think about the type of manager you’d want to work for, or the kind of colleagues you’d want to work with on a project.  Your colleagues, your team and your executives are aware of more than you may realize – and the respect you garner as a mentor, a team player, a great manager and a trustworthy person by acting in such an ethical manner is worth more than words can say – because actions always speak louder than words.

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