Ethical Leadership - The experience of JCU's 3rd IBD cohort

Ethics Violator

Our Ethics Violator (EV) was accused of speaking inappropriately to a co-worker several years ago. He offended this co-worker, and she went to his department head to make a complaint. The department head had to sit down with EV to discuss the issue, however would not tell EV in detail what it was that he said or who the individual was that filed the complaint.

1.       How did your ethics situation affect your career?

EV said that this ethics situation did not affect his career, but it did affect him mentally. Being the kind-hearted man he is, he felt terrible about the situation and wanted to apologize to the individual, however management and HR would not give him the specifics. So to this day, it bothers EV that he upset someone and was never able to apologize for it. 

 2.       How did your ethics situation affect your family?

EV doesn’t think the situation affected his family directly, as he did not tell them the specifics of his family. He lived with his two kids at the time (he and his wife were divorces prior to this incident).  He did say though, because it affected him so much, personally, that he would go home from work right after it happened and was at times very distant with his kids because his mind was elsewhere. 

He also advised them to be careful about what you say in professional settings. You never know how people are going to react in situations, so it is better to be cautious. 

3.       If you knew someone who was in a similar situation, what advice would you give in light of your experience?

Similar to the advice he gave to his kids, EV recommended that you watch what you say depending on the people that are around you. You need to recognize your boundaries, knowing that work and home are two different places. But he closed it out saying that you must be true to yourself. He also recommended working through the situation, being open, and recognizing that you’ve done something wrong, even though you might now feel that way initially.