Developing Ethics in Your Team Members

February 02, 2012 | 509 Views

Developing Ethics in Your Team Members


Have you noticed that there has been a decline in team members’ character and ethics? Do you see an increase in selfishness, a “what’s in it for me” attitude? Latimer observed an ethics decline as well and decided to develop a workshop to help move team members into a different way of thinking and acting. This interactive workshop is outlined for easy use.

Developing ethics starts with understanding what Character and Integrity are and then it is the process of taking your team members from where they are today, to where they need to be. I use this workshop for our team members at Sonny’s and it is very interactive.

This workshop is designed to teach you how to teach this presentation to your group, whomever you feel would best benefit from this workshop.

I developed this workshop because I noticed a decline in team members’ character, ethics and willingness to help others, and an increase in selfish behaviors. This trend was also recognized by colleagues at other concepts. The generation coming through our workforce today has a different mindset than in years past. They seemed to have a “what’s in it for me” and an “I’m not going to do it unless I feel like it” attitude. I realized we needed a change and I needed to be the “change I want to see,” as I mention later.   I knew I needed to start with helping them develop as individuals before they could be successful with the team, or before they would want to contribute to the team. 

Here’s a quick success story from giving the workshop recently. There was a woman who came to the workshop who was rather shy and reserved during the workshop. I asked the manager a couple of days later what the feedback was from the team members at her store. She told me that the shy woman had right away started implementing the lesson she had learned in the workshop.

The exercises I use are presented below. Go through the exercises yourself and then try it out on your employees. 

What are Character and Integrity?

Character isn’t what we think it is. Character isn’t who we are, it is more about what we do. Character is a moral or ethical quality, such as honesty or courage. Ponder this: the more traits of character and integrity become a habit, the more “right choices” one will make.

Think of what the word integrity means to you. The word means that you are solid, true to your very best self. It means that you walk your talk by living up to your highest ethical values. It means you always try to do what is right even in tough situations, and you don’t let temptation compromise your values.

Are you a person of Integrity? Ask yourself the following group of questions:

True or False

Now write down the following: I think I am/am not a person of integrity because:


Ask yourself how you want to be remembered after you die and if you are that person today.

Identify someone in your life who you think has demonstrated a LACK of integrity and write the traits that make it so.

Identify someone in your life who you think has demonstrated TRUE integrity and write the traits that support your choice.

Take those traits you have written down and develop a list of Do’ and Don’ts for being a person of integrity.

Now ask yourself:

What is Ethics?

I will define ethics as: The values relating to human conduct with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Here are some examples of work situations where ethics come into play. What would you do?

  1. You are the host during a Friday night. The wait is 45 minutes long or longer. A guest offers you $20.00 to seat his party next.
  2. You are a bartender and your friends come in and ask you to give them free drinks.
  3. You are a valet and a town car driver offers you a kick back for every booking you make for a guest if you call them first.
  4. You are hungry and have no money and are not given meals at work. You work at a restaurant where there is a salad bar and it’s easy to get a small plate and take some items from the salad bar to eat where you can’t be seen.
  5. You know a huge celebrity is coming to stay at your hotel. A member of the paparazzi tells you they will pay you $500 if you tell them on what floor they will be staying.
  6. Suppose you have some personal problems that are troubling you. Is it OK to attend to these problems while you are at work? To what degree (or under which circumstances) do you think it is OK to deal with your own personal affairs on company time?
  7. You see another team member taking advantage of company time or assets. Do you mind your own business or tell a manager?
  8. Suppose you are getting paid less than you think you deserve. Could that justify taking from the company or goofing off on the job?
  9. Suppose your manager/supervisor instructs you to do something unethical or illegal. What responsibility do you have to that manager/supervisor?

Remember, teaching Character and Integrity is a process. You need to take your team members from where they are today, to where they need to be. Protect your own integrity by asking yourself: Are integrity, character and trust your highest priorities? Are there areas of conflict between what you believe, what you say and how you behave? Has compromise of your integrity crept into your day-to-day life “under the radar”?

You have to model the behavior you want to see in your team members.

What is the change YOU want to see? We are “servants of hospitality”. As trainers, we have the ability to change someone’s day, guests and team members alike. It starts with you, and the choice you will make tomorrow to be better than you are today.

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