Improving Workplace Ethics
How to become a better manager, employee or co-worker
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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