Thoughts on Leadership and Ethics

At one moment in your life, during your career or personal life, you will have to make a decision based your code of ethics.  In determining your career, you should align your own code of beliefs with that of the company you have chosen.  You should research to see if the company has an ethics statement.  Research to see how the company has handled ethical situations.  But what is that?  Do you know your code of beliefs?  What is important to you?  How will you know it is a question of ethics or something else?  Where do I start?

Well there are 10 hospitality principles of ethics:

  1. Honesty. Hospitality managers are honest and truthful. They do not mislead
    or deceive others by misrepresentations.
  2. Integrity. Hospitality managers demonstrate the courage of their convictions
    by doing what they know is right even when there is pressure to do
  3. Trustworthiness. Hospitality managers are trustworthy and candid in supplying
    information and in correcting misapprehensions of fact. They do
    not create justifications for escaping their promises and commitments.
  4. Loyalty. Hospitality managers demonstrate loyalty to their companies in
    devotion to duty and loyalty to colleagues by friendship in adversity. They
    avoid conflicts of interest; do not use or disclose confidential information;
    and, should they accept other employment, they respect the proprietary
    information of their former employer.
  5. Fairness. Hospitality managers are fair and equitable in all dealings; they
    neither arbitrarily abuse power nor take undue advantage of another’s
    mistakes or difficulties. They treat all individuals with equality, with tolerance
    and acceptance of diversity, and with an open mind.
  6. Concern and respect for others. Hospitality managers are concerned, respectful,
    compassionate, and kind. They are sensitive to the personal concerns
    of their colleagues and live the Golden Rule. They respect the rights
    and interests of all those who have a stake in their decisions.
  7. Commitment to excellence. Hospitality managers pursue excellence in performing
    their duties and are willing to put more into their job than they
    can get out of it.
  8. Leadership. Hospitality managers are conscious of the responsibility and
    opportunities of their position of leadership. They realize that the best
    way to instill ethical principles and ethical awareness in their organizations
    is by example. They walk their talk!
  9. Reputation and morale. Hospitality managers seek to protect and build
    the company’s reputation and the morale of its employees by engaging
    in conduct that builds respect. They also take whatever actions are necessary
    to correct or prevent inappropriate conduct of others.
  10. Accountability. Hospitality managers are personally accountable for the
    ethical quality of their decisions, as well as those of their subordinates.

(Jaszay, C. & Dunk, P. (2006). Ethical Decision Making in the Hospitality Industry. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.)

These ten principles can be utilized in all aspects of leadership.  Some would say they are common sense, that one already understands these words.  But, again, the fact that they are down in paper, gives them a concrete voice.  And we aren’t questioning ourselves for a definitive definition when situations occur.

There are other code of ethics, and you can find them on the Internet.  The World Tourism Organization has a code for the tourism industry.

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