by Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM | December 01, 2005
With so much pressure on planners to generate ROI, do more with less, etc., few professionals have time to ponder their dealings with others in their offices. How do your workplace ethics stack up? Before the new year begins, take a few moments to brush on these basic tips for being a better manager, employee or colleague.
    " Avoid conflicts of interest. Although some organizations clearly forbid in-house planners from working on outside events, some professionals might be tempted to pull off a little covert freelance planning from time to time. In a word: don’t. Even if your firm does not have specific rules about moonlighting, the extra job(s) hurt not only the perpetrator, but his or her peers. By working on a concurrent project, you might get distracted from the day job, leaving teammates to pick up the slack. Worse, if you are caught, others on your team might be blamed for covering up for your actions.
    Even independent planners should be cautious about how many and which jobs they take on. You do not want to shortchange any of your clients, nor is it ethical to work for their competitors at the same time you are organizing events for them. At the very least, inform your clients about any other business you might take on, to ensure everything is above board.
    " Do not delegate all of the unpleasant tasks. Sure, underlings are expected to do a certain amount of grunt work. But balance the good with the bad: Hand your assistants a high-profile and/or enjoyable task on occasion. You’ll be a hero, as well as an enlightened mentor and the leader of a more contented team.
    " Treat vendors/third parties honorably. In your relationships with business partners, avoid the following: Ignoring payment terms (such as failing to pay bills in a timely fashion); canceling appointments without adequate notice; showing up late for meetings; failing to returning calls, and undervaluing the vendor’s expertise.
    " Do not covet thy colleagues’ jobs, offices, parking spots, etc. Yes, you might feel justifiably superior to the targets of your envy. And perhaps they have achieved success in a less-than-honorable way. Feeling resentment toward them is natural. But if you must vent, do so with your mom, spouse or therapist. Do not gripe about it to other members of the team, or worse, to your boss. And do not even consider any form of Machiavellian sabotage to unseat the anointed colleague. Such techniques inevitably backfire.
    Similarly, resist the temptation to spread mean gossip and/or expose shortcomings of other colleagues in order to make yourself look better: It will give you a reputation as disloyal and nasty.
    How to combat the envy in a productive way? Kick up your work a notch to get your own recognition or promotion in an honorable manner. If that does not work, consider brushing up your résumé, so you can go to work at a firm that will truly appreciate your skills.
     " Give credit where it is due. Imitation is fine, but if you do mimic a colleague’s style for your own events, be sure to clear it with that individual and acknowledge her contribution to your team, bosses and clients. Giving a nod to the source is the classy thing to, and hopefully it will be reciprocated.
    " Do not be too proud to ask for help. Some of your colleagues are more innovative, detail oriented and quantitative than you. Asking for their assistance when you are tackling a project will strengthen team spirit while also recognizing that person’s particular strengths.
    " Own up to your mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. Taking immediate responsibility for your own errors is not just character-building, it boosts’ your credibility with your bosses and colleagues.