Facing moral or ethical dilemmas in the workplace

April 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm 2 comments

Written by Esther Denn, CCAM, ARM

What is Ethics?  Simply put, it is:   knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do what is right. Our everyday business transactions with our peers, supervisors, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders present many opportunities to face moral or ethical dilemmas as well as our family and personal lives.  How do you equip yourself to do what is right?  Most people would say morals and ethics have to do with how a person is taught, i.e. their values.   If you grew up with the Golden Rule , Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” you may choose to do what is right.  But what about those who grew up with, what’s in it for me?” Do they choose “NO” unless it is in their best interest?    At the end of the day, why would a person want to choose to do what is right?

A reader of my blog recently shared the following with me:  “I recently encountered a moral dilemma in my own life.  A tall, dark and handsome business associate presented me with the potential of an affair of the heart.  Wow!  Who wouldn’t say “YES” to that?  I said “NO.”  Why?  Because I discovered that he is happily married.  Now for some people that may be okay.   To be frank, I felt flattered at first.  But for me, it is contrary to what I value and that is when you make a commitment to another person, you remain true.  If you are not happy, then leave the relationship.

I was flabbergasted to discover that my business associate thought it was okay to flirt with me, to tell me how beautiful I was, how much he adored me and if he had not married his wife and met me then surely he would be with me.  When I confronted him, he told that I was making more out of it than what it was and that he was just being open and honest.  I felt angry at not being heard or understood when I said that it was not okay for him to tell me those things.   I made the decision to remove myself from  interaction with the business associate because I felt that if I continued to be “friends” with him, the temptation to go down a slippery slope would be  there.  I felt guilty just knowing he had those feelings for me and not his wife.

I chose to do what was right for me in this situation because I know the pain first hand from discovering that a spouse was having an affair.  What may seem exciting and fun to one at the time can turn to bitter ashes in the end.   My former spouse struggled with guilt and then tried to relieve himself of it by sharing it with me.  That sharing destroyed trust as well as the relationship. ”   

The reader’s  story reminded me of the importance of examining your motives as illlustrated in the following:    “We were rigorously honest, except when to do so, would harm or injure others.  There are some things that you just have to live with if it would mean destroying someone or putting them in jeopardy.” (The Fourth Step of The Twelve Steps).”

The keyword here in our relationships with our coworkers, friends and family members is TRUST.  Without trust, there is no foundation for a relationship.  Our daily interactions with others depend greatly on our belief that we can trust them to do what they say they will do and follow through.  We also need to have a framework of values to guide us in our lives.  In the end, when facing a moral or ethical  dilemma, it is more about yourself and what rings true for growth and happiness in your own life.


Entry filed under: business communication, communicating with others, knowledge, personal growth, Property Management. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

WORDS ARE POWERFUL! Have you considered a Bucket List for 2012

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  |  September 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I really appreciate with this post.Its very good and informative post. Thanks for sharing

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