Go talk to the ECO

A few years ago, employees would occasionally come to my office because their boss sent them to me. The employee had an ethical dilemma, went to their boss for advice, and the boss simply said “Go talk to the ECO.”

As tempting as it might have been to dive right in and help the employee, I would pause and tell them that I would like to bring their manager back in the conversation. When the three of us were together, I would tell the manager and employee that knowing where they stood on the issue would help me provide better advice. I would create a safe environment for both of them to reflect and share. Very often, they would get to the right place on their own.

I did this because I didn’t want management to send the signal that ethics is not their responsibility. I did this because I wanted them to exercise their ethical muscles. I wanted them to practice having these discussions.

Managers now understand how I roll and they don’t just send their employees to me anymore. They come in pairs, and prepared.

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