By Daneen Skube

Q. How do you recommend people handle ethics in the workplace? I have a strong sense of right and wrong and get pretty upset about how often people lie, or behave badly. How can I best communicate my values at work?

A. Start out by realizing that no one has ever been thanked for shoving their truth into the ears of others. Even if you are right, you will receive nothing but hostility for your efforts.

Consider that Truth with a capital t is a lot like the laws of physics. Gravity is true whether you believe in it or not. Especially as you get older, you may not like gravity but it applies to you nonetheless.

The more our "ethics" line up with the underlying laws of reality, the universe or life, the less we have to nag, argue or lecture others. We can quietly communicate our own experience (e.g., "I find it hurts to jump out a second story window!") and then let others find out that gravity applies to them as well.

If you find yourselves in repeated arguments about right and wrong with others, ask yourself if you really believe your own point of view. If you are certain you are communicating a law of life, it is fine to talk about your own experience. Then sit back and let the physics of life educate your coworkers.

Realize that very few people are wired to learn Truth from other people. Most of us can only learn from repeatedly making the same mistakes. If we are wise, we start to notice that certain behavior generates suffering and other behavior generates effectiveness.

To develop patience, consider some of the mistakes you've made, are making, and will make as you continue to explore what is True. For myself, I've noticed that the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. My interest in being righteous, dogmatic or arrogant fades with every year I have on the planet.

My respect for the learning curve of everyone living on the planet with me keeps expanding as well. Especially when people jump out a second story window on me, I wish others were more conscious of challenging gravity. Then again, I have the ability to do a better job at noticing people hanging out of windows above me when I walk.

If you start to more quietly express your own experience with what you currently believe to be the laws of life (your ethics), you are in a better position to find out that you may be right or you may be wrong.

If you are wrong, the physics of reality will educate you if you pay attention to the results you achieve. You can then revamp your ethics with better information.

If you are right, realize your coworkers can't fail to notice that what you communicate seems to consistently be in line with what happens. Your coworkers may decide you have amazing intuition. The end result is that when you speak, people will listen. They will listen because what you express is True.

The last word(s)

Q. We may be facing another round of layoffs, and I cannot get anyone to tell me how safe my job is. The uncertainty is driving me crazy. What do you recommend?

A. Prepare to be unemployed and you will be able to sleep at night. You cannot control what the company does but you can be ready either way.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, about Anything" Hay House, 2006.


The Ethics of Reality in the Workplace| Jobs & Careers

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