Scholar and ethics consultant Laura Nash suggests twelve questions that can help leaders avoid the mind game of over simplifying. The following questions may raise ethical issues not otherwise considered, or help generate a variety of “out of the box” alternatives. Before settling on a solution, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I specified the problem accurately?
- How would I describe the problem if I were on the opposite side of the fence?
- How did this situation begin?
- To whom and to what do I give my loyalties as a person or group and as a member of the organization?
- What is my intention in making this decision?
- How does this intention compare with the likely results?
- Whom could my decision or action harm?
- Can I engage those involved in a discussion of the problem prior to making a decision?
- Am I confident that my position will be valid over the long term?
- Could I disclose without reservation my decision or action to my boss, our CEO, the Board of Directors, my family, or society as a whole?
- What is the symbolic impact of my action if it is understood?
- Under what conditions would I allow exceptions to my position?
These questions initiate a thought process that underscores the importance of problem identification and information gathering. Such a process can help leaders guard against over simplifying an otherwise complicated ethical decision.
Source: Why Good Leaders Do Bad Things / Charles D. Kerns, Ph.D. / Graziadio Business Report, Vol. 6, No. 4