Ethical Conduct - What is this anyway?

Someone recently told me a story about getting into trouble because he was “too good” at his job. As a new hire to the company, he set about doing his job effectively, conscientiously making an effort to reduce errors, complete tasks as quickly as possible and streamline procedures. He was politely pulled aside by one of his new colleagues and told that he was making everyone else look bad by being so good at his job.  He was asked to slow it down.

So here is the ethical dilemma.  Would you lower your standard of quality to “fit into the team” or would you continue performing to the best of your ability?

Maybe this is an unfair question because you might feel you need more facts before you can answer. I guess I operate on a different standard than the average person, because I would refuse to settle or lower my standards to “fit” or stay equal with others. The situation would not really matter to me. I would most likely be insulted that someone asked me to do less than my best, and that would create conflict. I hate conflict.

And what is ethical conduct anyway?  Is it honoring a commitment we’ve made? Is it telling the truth even if that truth is painful? Is it being accountable for our actions?  I suppose it depends on the context of the situation. I don’t have all the answers, but I see people justifying their conduct all the time based on what they perceive to be “ethical”.  For example, I was at a conference a few weeks ago where 80 people signed up and paid to attend. Only 30 people showed up. The 50 no-shows cost money the organizers who booked the room and ordered food for 80. Most of the no-shows did not even bother to let the organizers know they weren’t going to attend; the few that did just said something had come up.  Huh.  In essence telling the organizers they had something more important. Is this ethical conduct?

We’re being inundated in the news by examples of people breaking promises, making excuses, lying about their decisions and asking others to “cover for them”. Where did all the ethical conduct go?  Or is it no longer important to behave ethically in our world?  My concern is that more and more people will just do as they please, expecting they will have no consequences just like those in the news. Wrong. Everything has consequences. The consequence for the friend who told me he was too good at his job? The organization he worked for downsized, and because of the poor productivity rates of his peers the unit he worked for was closed down….  There are always consequences.

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