Ethics at work: how do your personal core values impact your leadership?


Ethics in the workplace are an integral part of how you operate as a leader and as part of a team. However, we sometimes don’t think about what these might be even though they have a big impact on the way we work. Here, I reflect on my own core values and encourage you to define your own.


Over the past few years, there has been an increasing spotlight on ethics and responsibility in the workplace. While this often focuses on an organisation, I believe it also falls to individuals to uphold.

This survey from the Governance Institute found people think Australians are only ‘somewhat ethical’. And this research from the ethics centre shows some Australians feel they are forced to compromise their ethics in the workplace.

Is this a surprise? Do you agree?

Any leader should be aware that their own ethics are important as they will echo through their leadership and back to their teams and the organisations they work for. Plus, regardless of how ethical we might think others are, we will ultimately be a lot happier and more successful if we behave in a way that supports our core beliefs.

Therefore, if you haven’t defined your own core values at work, it might be worth taking time to sit down and write them out. No doubt you already know what they are, even if you have never taken the time to put them into words.

I’ve put a lot of thought into mine over the years, to make sure we’re always sticking to our own principles and feeding them back into the work we do, so thought I’d share them here as an example.

  1. Provide quality

One of the personal ethics I work by is providing the highest of quality. We always make sure that our participants leave our courses having learnt something valuable, that they can take away and use for life, not just on the day of the training. Regardless of their level of experience, personality type or leadership style, we want our training to enhance core skills like communication and self-awareness as foundations for great leadership.

One of the words we have in our motto at Leading Edge Professional Development is confidence. While this also reflects what we teach others about leadership, I practise this core value myself by assuring we provide a quality service and therefore have confidence in what we do.

  1. Look after everyone

We have a team here made up of several humans and of course our wonderful equine colleagues.

Anyone who has been a manager knows that ensuring the welfare and happiness of your team is one of the most important things you can do. However, our business comes with the added responsibility of ensuring the horses are all happy and healthy. Something I absolutely never compromise on.

The second of the words in our motto is compassion, something we incorporate into our training. So, looking out for and respecting our own team and being sensitive to everyone’s needs is how I live up to that.

  1. Be self-aware and open to improvement

Over the ten years we’ve been in business, I’ve had to adapt, accept necessary change and let go of things.  This is an ongoing process and has recently included moving some of our training online during COVID and opening a new venue.

This feeds into third word we use which is consciousness, which is all about this awareness of self and others. It’s only through reflection that we can really make changes for the better.

So, has this article inspired you to think about some of your personal values? Have you defined them already? Do they carry through your work as well? Let us know in the comments.

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