How Ethical Mentoring Can Help
Recently, Professor David Clutterbuck, a leading expert on mentoring as well as a Chronus partner, wrote an article on ethical mentoring. He said, “Our desire to think well of ourselves leads us to create narratives that justify the otherwise indefensible. If someone challenges those narratives, we protect our sense of self-worthiness by positioning them as immoral, for undermining some greater good, to which we have aligned our own immoral actions.”
An Ethical Corporate Culture
Maintaining a strong corporate culture or shifting a culture with issues can be difficult. Clutterbuck explained, “Without constant vigilance and ethical role models, unethical behavior reasserts itself.” But providing an avenue for dialogue can reverse this, especially dialogue that promotes introspection along with an understanding and appreciation of wider and different perspectives.
Occasional workshops aren’t enough. Creating and maintaining an ethical culture requires a learning environment, along with an avenue to facilitate conversations and develop peoples’ understanding of ethics.
The Role of Ethical Mentors
That’s where ethical mentoring comes in. Ethical mentors have four main functions. They:
- Help people get heard and provide a direct link to an organization’s leadership, who might otherwise be unaware of unethical behavior.
- Support anyone in the organization with a dilemma and aid in managing those issues.
- Help employees develop ethical resilience, which is the ability to recognize ethical dilemmas, become more aware, and manage those issues in line with their own personal values and the values of the organization.
- Act as a corporate conscience. Ethical mentors’ exposure to ethical issues at various levels within the organization allows them to bring patterns of behavior to the organization’s leadership.
Currently, only a few organizations have formal ethical mentoring in place. But more companies should look into developing their own to improve corporate morality.