Ethics – the ‘magic’ of right relationship
There is plenty of high profile evidence in the media these days to suggest that we are increasingly, and perhaps even, universally ethically and morally corrupt – whether that’s in sport, industry, politics, religion or indeed any part of our social fabric. And we’d be forgiven for thinking that we are on a complete downward spiral to some sort of complete moral bankruptcy. I hold a different view.
I believe that the exposure of such individual and systematic behaviors is offering us the opportunity to reflect on, examine and to decide for ourselves – am I like this? What do I think about such behaviors? Where do I come out when tested against the litmus paper of ethical and moral behaviors?
This process of exposure and self-reflection is part of the process for improving the quality of our societies. If each and every one us reflects on the Sam Allardyce situation for a few moments, we can take the opportunity to think about if, how and when, we have allowed our greed, or ego, or insecurities or whatever it is that motivated him, to knowingly or unthinkingly step us over a line. Or if we consider the whole Brexit scenario again with the poor judgment (at best) displayed by Boris Johnson throughout the campaign we can see how pursuing personal ambition regardless of our real truths can undermine our integrity, trustworthiness and standing in all relationships – public and private.
And it’s relationship that sits at the heart of the concept of ethics and morals – it’s not about piety or religious fervor or even general ‘goodness’. Morals and ethics are the basis of right relationship and right relationship is the basis of every meaningful human interaction and core to the fabric of a healthy society. If we are reliable, trustworthy, trusting, open, honest and positively intentioned (all characteristics of ethics and morality) we then have the currency for being a great human being, a valuable member of society and an impactful leader.
So, as old-fashioned as it may sound, I believe it is time for us to properly examine these qualities within ourselves and to hold ourselves and all leaders to account against these standards – not as a form of persecution or punishment but as part of an aspiration to being the best we can be. It’s part of our natural evolution to live these qualities as the bedrock of human existence – and build even stronger relationships that create great societies.