Companies with a diverse and ethical workforce don’t possess those traits by accident. Instead, the CEO and other key organizational players work hard to create and maintain a positive atmosphere. Ethics within an organization must come from the top down. There are four characteristics that a CEO must possess in order to ensure a diverse and ethical workforce.
Respect For The Law
Legal restrictions sometimes make business transactions more costly and difficult. Laws exist, however, to protect employees, investors and other stakeholders as well as the environment. If the CEO breaks laws when convenient, he should expect those within his organization to do the same. Even accidental legal missteps can create large problems and undermine a company’s reputation. A CEO should be well versed in employment law and other areas of legal concern. We can constantly be learning, and a CEO could consider either obtaining education in, or hiring someone who has experience with an employment law masters degree. This can help cover any loopholes and ensure that the ethics of the company are in good standing.
Mistakes happen. Companies that own up to and fix them outlive those who attempt to cover their tracks. While honesty is important when dealing with the public, it is equally necessary within the organization. Management must acknowledge mistakes and be honest with employees about missteps and the actions taken to correct them. In return, management must embrace employees who own up to mistakes. Employees who believe a mistake will lead to their termination are much more likely to hide errors than report them. Encourage honesty at every level on the company organizational chart.
Encouraging honesty lets employees share important thoughts, but it’s only the first step. In order to achieve organizational greatness, a CEO must be willing to truly consider feedback and input. A CEO’s duties often pull him away from the action, immersing him in a world full of meetings and report reading. If he’s not careful, he may miss some great ideas from the people on the front lines working directly with customers and suppliers. The most effective CEOs welcome ideas from anywhere and everywhere rather than strictly adhering to their own personal vision.
A good CEO applies the same rules and extends the same courtesies to everyone in the workforce, regardless of race, gender, religion or position. Unfortunately, employees do need to be disciplined or dismissed at times. An ethical CEO develops a fair and clear set of rules and expectations. These rules are then applied to everyone from the janitor to the CEO himself. This lets everyone know exactly what to expect and makes it clear that certain standards of behavior are applied to everyone, including management.
An ethical company requires a CEO who holds himself to high moral standards and clearly expects the same from others within the organization. A zero-tolerance policy for amoral and illegal behaviors must be set and then applied. Leading by example is crucial to the process. Remember that CEOs who take shortcuts create organizations that do the same.
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