Learning and Development Ethics: Article 3 of 9


Written by Hannes Nel

Introduction. I will discuss the following two issues in this article.

  • When is unethical behaviour acceptable?
  • Honour your promises and commitments.

When is unethical behaviour acceptable? It is never acceptable to be unethical in anything. Ethics apply to all parts of your job, including human interaction and learning. Ethics is not something that happens sometimes, it is a way of life. There is absolutely no excuse that justifies unethical behaviour.

Reflect on your own behaviour. Congratulate yourself on the things you’re already doing right and renew your commitment to continue doing them. More importantly, note those things you need to work on. You can do the following to reinforce your value system:

  • Honour your promises and commitments.
  • Do your work and learning in the open.
  • Eliminate offensive words and comments from your vocabulary, except when you watch the springboks play rugby.
  • Say no to negativity.
  • Stop blaming others for things that you do wrong.
  • Be truthful.
  • Embrace racial, cultural and creative diversity.
  • Don’t confuse “cutting corners” with efficiency.
  • Know your job – inside and out.
  • Recognize others’ efforts, contributions, and ethical behaviour.
  • Show what you know.
  • Go the extra mile.
  • Practice patience, understanding and empathy.
  • Talk with people, not at them.
  • Make it safe to work and learn with you.
  • Accept that people sometimes make mistakes.
  • Make it safe to be ethical.

Honour your promises and commitments. Learning is based upon trust. Trust is the belief that what is stated will be delivered. The promises that you make, and keep, speak volumes about your integrity and trustworthiness. You need to understand that a reputation as someone who does not keep his or her promises can inflict serious damage to your future. Commitments are responsibilities and you should keep this in mind. Of course commitments will require a lot from you in terms of time, effort and probably also costs. However, commitments are responsibilities and mostly opportunities to learn and to gain new knowledge and skills.

You can only honour your promises and commitments if you keep track of them. Note the things you might forget in your day planner, laptop computer or wherever you plan.

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About Hannes Nel

CEO and owner of Mentornet (Pty) Ltd. Academic background: B. Mil.; BA Honnours; MBL; D. Com; D. Phil Published 10 books with two more in the pipeline.

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