In today’s highly competitive modern world we hear more and more about unethical behaviour, either in business, politics or even in broader social activities.

Values are the rules by which we make decisions about good and bad, right and wrong, or simply about our likes or dislikes
Morals are about good and bad. People are judged more on their morals than values. A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word for them not following values.
Ethics are about the rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.

Morals, values and ethics are more than just sayings, rules or laws. They imply a duty or actions that you should take. But they also imply that taking these actions is “right” or “good”. Not performing in that way is “wrong” or “bad”.

One of the problems of upholding morals and values in business is that the morals and values of one person may differ from that of another. It is therefore an obligation of business leaders to define basic business morals and values that they want their teams to adhere to. This can be done in team mission statements or when defining team goals or business policies.

One’s morals extend beyond merely knowing a policy or even knowing the law. Very often people who are sentenced admit that they knew what they did was wrong, but they did it anyway! Some people do not answer the question: “Is it right?” before they act. They simply see the act as a way of getting what they want and they simply carry out the act. Businesses need to encourage honesty and high moral standards as the actions of an individual in the team can bring down the moral ethos of the entire team or business.

Unfortunately the old adage “You can fool most of the people all of the time” often applies and it is very easy to mislead the masses with immoral business practices and mis-information campaigns. However, it only takes one or two people to realise what is going on, to expose the poor morals and bring disrepute to the business. The bigger the mis-information campaign, the bigger the final impact of the moral degradation.

Most people say their conscience bothers them when they do something wrong. This conscience is both intellectual and emotional. It involves both knowing right from wrong and having a good or guilty feeling or notion about what you are doing.

Pinochio had Jimmy Cricket to tell him what he was about to do was wrong. In business you have the business policies, plus your inner voice or conscience. This conscience may be stronger in some people then in others.

Employees with low self-esteem are more likely to act immorally as they do not care enough about themselves to consider their actions to be important. Their belief in their lack of importance, makes doing either right or wrong seem unimportant, and diminishes their conscience or guilt.

It is therefore important for business leaders to value the input of each employee and, treating them with respect to encourage high self –esteem actions.

How you feel about others also determines your moral sense. If you value others highly you will be considerate and act with compassion and moral sense. You will consider the effect your actions will have on others and will want to do what is right and good. On the other hand, if you feel that others have hurt you and are against you, you may lack empathy for their feelings. You will not recognise their value and worth and may not feel compassion for their welfare. Some personality types, especially the defunct, may be empathy challenged, and they may have no or limited capacity for empathy.

When you see others as “the enemy” you will not have compassion for them. Your conscience will not fully respond when you are acting against an enemy. In business people may incorrectly see their competitors as the enemy and engage in immoral business practices to “beat” the enemy or financially disadvantage the enemy. Stealing is stealing, and if you acquire money immorally at someone else’s expense it will eventually backfire and reflect negatively on you or the business you represent.

Fortunately, human nature is basically good and most people will not try to “gain” or “win” at the expense of harming or disabling another.

It is important to remember that we are all connected and any action that you take in life or business should not hamper the success, health or welfare of another. This is because it is our obligation as people to contribute to the growth and success of us all.

I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after – Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon.

Author's Bio: 

I assist my husband, Jason Sandler in his Hypnotherapy, Counseling and NLP practice