When faced with a difficult decision or ethical adversity, everyone likes to think that they would make the right call, especially if it is a situation when you know no one is watching your next move. These kind of events are not uncommon. Hard decisions, actions and conversations that require a strong moral compass happen throughout the day, every day, whether we are aware of it or not. Laying a strong foundation of moral courage and integrity is essential not just in our day to day life, but also in the workplace. Having a professional life that has an established foundation of moral courage and integrity carries a specific kind of importance. That essential foundation is not only a direct reflection on the quality of the company or team, but also on the expertise that accompanies the work or service being provided to a client or community. Having the courage to speak up when you have witnessed something unethical or need to share an unpopular opinion is much easier if that foundation has been put in place and practiced.
Recently, the Business Ethics Alliance of Omaha hosted their highly sought-after conference, EthicSpace. Despite having to navigate the conference this year in a virtual fashion due to COVID-19 restrictions, the quality of content, group discussions and lessons learned were not short on impact. If you missed out on EthicSpace this year, here are three takeaways from the discussions that can aid in navigating difficult situations in the workplace.
Listen to Understand, Not Just to Respond
Even though listening may seem like the easiest part of the conversation process, it is a skill that can always be improved. There is a distinct difference between listening to someone and simply hearing them when they speak. So often during a conversation, especially one that may be difficult to have, instead of truly engaging in what the other person is saying, our focus is on what we are going to say next. This can happen so intensely at times that we are completely missing out on why someone feels the way they do. By becoming an active listener, a more engaging conversation that results in actionable solutions can be had. Future conflicts or confusion can also be navigated easier or avoided all together.
Consider Possibilities Beyond Your Own Perceptions
When faced with a difficult conversation, it can be hard to entertain feelings other than our own. By removing our “inner editor” and being able to view an opinion outside of our own learned perceptions allows us to not only see where a fellow Associate is coming from, but it gives you the opportunity to expand your own way of thinking. There is an immense amount of personal growth and development that can occur when you make it a point to look beyond your own perceptions and can validate the thoughts and ideas of someone else. Taking the time to review viewpoints other than your own can make you a better leader, coworker and collaborator.
Create an Environment of Support
Ethical adversity has been at an all time high this year around the world. There is a need for unity more than ever before. When genuine togetherness is felt in the workplace, a great impact can be made on the lives of those who benefit from the work being done, but also on the lives of the ones doing the work. When a supportive environment is cultivated in the workplace, the quality of collaboration that can take place is unmatched. When Associates feel heard and empowered, critical thinking is at its best and the mission and values of the company are being fully executed.
Signature Performance Prioritizes Core Values
Like Dr. Jill Brown, a scholar of business ethics and corporate responsibility, mentioned during her presentation, moral courage is not an innate skill. It is a skillset that should be drawn upon and practiced. However, the best kind of practice of moral courage and integrity usually occurs when a tough conversation or event needs to take center stage at work. Comfort zones are abandoned and risk must be overcome to willingly uphold moral principles at work and in life. No one ever wants to find themselves in a difficult conversation when there is an unpopular opinion and the outcome is unknown, but moral courage and integrity shine their brightest after difficult situations.
Signature Performance has made it a top priority the last 16 years to conduct business with our core values of passion, integrity, courage and respect. Our team is committed to building strong relationships and leaving a positive impact with our Associates, community and those we serve in the healthcare industry. We know our success is a result of our people. Our team is filled with highly talented and passionate individuals who possess a commitment to fulfill our mission of improving the health of our clients’ business and making the lives of the people we work with better. Our objective is for new and current Associates to make us a stronger and higher performing company. We, in turn, equip our Associates to become more capable and inspired professionals.
Stephanie Hyland is the Brand Experience Strategist at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.