Ethically speaking

You might not think it, but ethics comes into every decision that you make as a Project Manager. It may be a small decision but you are still choosing to behave in an ethical manner. If you have any concerns about being ethical, I’d recommend looking at the PMIs Code of Ethics to fully understand what it involves. For me, being ethical isn’t just about a role that you turn ‘on’ and ‘off’. It’s a part of your personal core values that you live by every day.

What does ethics really mean?

Ethics is about making the best possible decision regarding people, tools, environment. PMI says: “Ethical choices diminish risk, advance positive results, increase trust, determine long term success and build reputations. Leadership is absolutely dependent on ethical choices.” If you look at the choices that you make as a Project Manager, you’ll soon see how critical ethics is to your daily life!

Let’s take a look at where ethics plays a part:

  • It promotes a better way of working that holds each of us accountable to a better of working
    • This includes working in a way that encourages ‘fair play’
  • It increases trust between team members and stakeholders. This ‘leap of faith’ is made easier by having a strong ethical background.
    • Promotes a strong relationship between teams and stakeholders
  • Helps reduce project stresses for Project Managers.

How can you be ethical in your projects?

It starts out with a simple thing: Trust. You get trust in your teams by displaying and using ethical behaviour on a day to day basis. Building trust within your teams is also about being a good leader and creating a stable environment for your team to work. All of these tasks go hand in hand but if you can establish a good foundation with trust and build a strong team dynamic with your leadership, it will help you on the road to delivering a successful project.

I think it’s important to state that being ethical does not have to come at the expense of your project or delivering a successful outcome. You can have the best of both worlds! I often hear in defence of unethical behaviour that ‘ethics costs projects‘ but I think it’s the opposite. Being unethical costs the project, team and organisation in one way or another.

What does ethics mean to me?

Ethical behaviour is something that I do in every aspect from my life and is something that I also instill in my children. It’s not just about right/wrong but more about what is fair to do. My children are at that wonderful “why” age and we can have some good discussions about situations and why we behave in a certain way. This also helps them understand why we behave in a certain way and why it’s not ‘fair’ to do something which could give us an unfair advantage.

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