Values Leadership and Ethical Productivity

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> Have you ever been astounded by unethical behaviour in the workplace? (Think recent abuse in juvenile detention centres.)

Of course, you wouldn't do what you see others doing, would you? And then you realise you have!

  • You complain about the driver driving while holding their phone, then your phone rings and you pick up yours.
  • You moan about theft and then fudge some of your tax receipts.
  • You get uptight about workers being lazy and then call in a fake sick day.

Statistics obtained by the Australian Federal Police indicate that 70 percent of business fraud losses are from staff and former staff, costing businesses over $1.5 billion a year. The Australian Retailers Association estimates that 55 percent of stock shrinkage relates to employee theft. (1) 

So how can you increase the level of ethical behaviour in your workplace? Here are five simple suggestions:

  1. Add an item to your staff meeting agenda called "A friend of mine was wondering". Ask staff to contribute scenarios for the staff to discuss such as: "A friend of mine was wondering if it's okay to print out her son's essay using works colour printer?"
  2. As a leader highlight notable examples of ethical behaviour you observe. For example, "I want to thank Sue for reporting the scratch she put on the work car. It was small and would probably not have been noticed. I want to acknowledge her honesty."
  3. As a staff develop a clear list of behaviours that are not acceptable. It is better to have staff input rather than just handing down a list 'from on high'.
  4. Distribute the 'Stanford Prison Experiment' available at Discuss questions like: 'What do you learn from this experiment?' and 'How might our workplace contribute to unethical behaviour?'
  5. Read and discuss great books such as "Primary Greatness" by Stephen R. Covey.

Article by Peter Watson, of Impact Facilitation. Impact Facilitation provides innovative training solutions with a special focus on not-for-profits in NSW, Australia. You can find out more at


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