ORGL 610

Communication and Leadership Ethics

Artifact: Personal Ethics Statement


During this course, I was part of a leadership training group at my former organization. We were working through Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s “The Leadership Challenge” and, in particular, a section on core values. Through this, I had identified my personal core values as: trust, dependability, empathy, communication, and humor. As they related to the exercise of creating a personal ethics statement, they were not simply what I strived for, but the ideals from which I led.

These values underpin my personal ethics, which, if I had to classify with a credo or statement, would be simply:

“Do no harm.”

I have spent the entirety of my career in the nonprofit sector, for nearly two decades working under individuals often with very little experience or training on how to lead, guide, or motivate people. Very rarely can I say that my core values have aligned with those of my managers’. It is one thing to lead from a place of productivity and ensure the work gets done, but organizations are founded by, with, and for people, and I believe strongly in the principle of “do no harm” as a baseline while understanding that’s hardly enough.

Organizations are full of people from different walks of life, with varying degrees of experience and wherewithal. Part of the charge of leadership is to bridge the gap, and bring the greatest mutual understanding to the fore — if people, projects, and processes are to be effective. I believe the most effective way to do this is to lead from a place of “do no harm,” though that can be a long road. I can count on two fingers, the number of managers whose values and ethics aligned with mine. They were kind, patient, and understanding, and taught me a great deal about my personal values.

This personal statement hearkens back to the ORGL program foundations course and my personal leadership philosophy:

“Develop opportunities to engage with work and grow, for myself and others, to the fullest extent possible.”

The underpinning of my philosophy is understanding that people come to the table with differences, and some may ascend to higher levels of productivity and growth than others. In “doing no harm,” I can ensure the greatest possible good for the greatest number of people.