Big-picture ethical lapses tend to grow out of small, everyday bad behaviors. That’s why it’s important for managers to watch for unethical actions on their teams. Be wary of two things in particular. The first is how company culture affects your team members. Over time we mimic the norms and values of those around us. So if some employees make a habit of exaggerating last month’s numbers, for example, others may find themselves doing it too. Revisit your culture’s norms every so often and consider how they’re influencing your team. The second is when people use approaching deadlines or high-stakes situations to justify minor bad behavior. It can be tempting to bend the rules when the pressure is on, so talk to your team about the ethics standards you want them to adhere to. Discuss what’s OK, what isn’t, and where the line is.

This tip is adapted from “The Psychology Behind Unethical Behavior,” by Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg

Share with cohorts