I had a call last week from a coaching client, with whom I have had a long professional relationship, though infrequent contact. Instinctively I knew I wanted to help – she was suffering the consequences of a malicious anonymous letter and an equally mischievous grievance.
Recently too I have reread some of the work of Tim Bond and Simon Blackburn who write prolifically on the theme of professional ethics. Their position is clear.
“…neither success nor suffering ennobles people. In such a mood, we can be overwhelmed just by the relentless human capacity in making life horrible for others. The right reaction is not to succumb to the mood, but to reflect that the cure lies in our own hands.” Simon Blackburn (2001)
Leaders do well to re-evaluate and learn the lessons of Bond and Blackburn and examine the commercial and social wisdom of the prevailing ethic, demonstrated by organisation behaviours, and decide how best to restore the moral compass.
Witness the parlous state of our economy due in part to ‘casino banking’, the abuse of young people that was the stock in trade of J Savile, the institutionalised victimisation of patients in Mid Staffs and the selfish, baseless grievance levelled at my client in pursuit of a financial settlement that was morally undeserved and with the potential to create collateral damage to the organisation and its leadership.
Rant over? I hope not! We ignore ethics and values that drive behaviours at our peril.
“Standards and ethics are the essential core of counselling; without these the relationship is not counselling.” Bond (1993)
Sustainability in organisations and individuals requires valued based leadership. It takes courage to explicitly lead from a position that embraces the notion of care, openness, love and ‘hate the sin, not the sinner.’ Rules and legal processes are important; underpinning values are vital.
- Is your organisation managed by the rule book at the expense of being value led?
- When did you last talk about your /your organisation’s ethics and values with your people?
- What’s really important to you?
- What part do your values play in your choice of job?
I rejoice in the emotionally charged and conscience -pricking campaign that was Sports Relief, raising £75m+ in matter of days and bringing together the power of hearts and minds of those willing and able to contribute.
And my client? She is doing fine…all that was needed was a supportive, steadying voice reminding her that her integrity and intuition were and remain intact and so the reparative work can begin.
By Debbie Keith – Elevate Associates Coach
Bond. T, Standards and Ethics for Counselling in Action. 1993 Sage Publishing
Blackburn, S. Being Good. A Short Introduction to Ethics 2001 Oxford University Press