“I don’t really know how to talk about business ethics to my team.”
This is a phrase that many ethics and compliance professionals have heard from front-line supervisors.
They are afraid of sounding preachy. Or of not knowing the answers. Or looking soft.
If you are one of these supervisors, here’s an easy way to start:
- Look for a recent ethical breach or scandal reported in the news.
- Gather your team and ask:
- Could this happen here? (hint: the answer is usually yes)
- If so, what would it look like (in this industry, this company, this department, this team)?
- How could we prevent it from happening?
- If we could not prevent it, how would we respond to it?
It’s a safe conversation because it didn’t happen to you (yet). Right now, it’s someone else’s problem. But it’s a real problem, not some hypothetical in an online course. And you are not pretending to know the answer – you are asking your team for their ideas on how to protect the company.
Do this on a regular basis, until it becomes comfortable and expected.
Then, like magic, you won’t need to initiate these conversations. Your team will bring them up on their own.