Making Ethics personal..

Almost a week from now, we’ll come to the end of term 4, exams and then 2 weeks later, the highly awaited spring break. While my spring break plans are still hazy, the Business Ethics paper that all of us had to write made me think about the life ahead and what I hope to become.  As I went through this post on Caroline’s blog, I realized that it’s a good idea to share my personal statement with the readers of my blog. It’s imperative for leaders to find their own leadership styles and individuals to build their own identities. Yet, I hope that the excerpts below from my personal vision as a manager and leader will help stimulate thoughts for everyone who reads this.

The engaging class discussions in every Business Ethics class at Darden pose a plethora of questions-many that make me stop, think and reflect on who I am and what I hope to become.

Reflecting on some of the Ethics business cases we’ve studied, I learnt something about myself. I do not want to wrong one person even for the benefit of many. For instance, in the Danville airlines case, I was not in support of grounding Reiger- an airline pilot carrying huntington disease gene who could potentially suffer from the disease in future and risk the lives of passengers. In another case, I was not in favor of firing an employee for being lesbian, even though other employees wanted her to be fired. My decisions are driven by my principles, which to a great extent are driven by my character.

On the contrary, there are some other case discussions that made me question my decision making based largely on principles.  For eg, the Davis press case, where we discussed whether a book which is possibly a great piece of literature but could potentially cause violence should be published or not. I realized that freedom of speech is important but perhaps not at the cost of offending others.

As a business woman and a leader, I hope to be able to see the fine line between when to stand for my principles vs. when to think about the consequences and the affects my decisions could have on others. I hope to be able to see, which consequences are most important when I make conflicting decisions and accordingly prioritize the claims of my stakeholders. This is crucial as we enter a world where mannequins will have video cameras installed in their eyes and genetic engineering will fundamentally open humans to limitless possibilities.

The milgram experiment was a sad realization of the harm that humans can potentially cause to each other in the absence of any liability. I want that as an individual and as a manager -I take the responsibility for my own decisions. I hope to not fall in the herd mentality and go with the decisions that could potentially harm others. As vital as I think it is to be flexible as a leader, I hope to set my boundaries and realize when I need to stop despite of the circumstances and the external pressure.

As a businesswoman, I hope that my colleagues find me objective. When I lead a team of varied individuals, I may not be able to convince every person in the room that my decision is possibly the best but I hope to be able to make everyone understand the rationale behind my decisions. I hope to be seen as transparent.

I hope that my friends see me as someone they can always trust with their secrets. I hope that I remain a cheerful person who lives every day of her life in full spirits.

Years from now, when I look back at my personal and professional life, I hope to have successfully balanced a career along with my personal life. I hope that I am able to prove to myself and others that it’s possible for women to be successful mothers and have a successful career at the same time.


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