Is this the “right”thing to do?

The planets must be realigning or something at present, because it has been an “interesting” sort of few weeks. Things have happened that have just had me shaking my head in disbelief. For example:

I could go on, there are so many more examples..

Is this the right thing to do I wonder?

Which brings me back to the question of “is this the right thing to do?” It is a good question and one that perhaps should be considered more often before embarking upon actions that in the cold light of day might appear rash, impetuous, vexatious or lacking in courage.

Many of us are governed by a professional body that has standards or a code of ethics that must be complied with. Some of us work in companies that stipulate a code of conduct. All of us are required to abide by the legislation in the country that we abide. All of these rules and codes are meant to make it clear; what is the right thing to do, and what is the wrong thing to do, what is ethical behaviour and what is not. These codes and rules are meant to make answering the question of “what is the right thing to do” simpler, to provide clarity.

But as soon as we have to start justifying “why” we did xyz; as soon as we have to resort to holding up the code of conduct to justify that “our” behaviour is correct, or seek to justify our behaviour by portraying ourselves as the wronged victim “just seeking justice” or any other of the myriad of strange rationalisations that people seem to use to excuse their own inappropriate behaviour, then the answer is clear — it’s probably not the right thing to do. The excuse that the other party isn’t doing the “right” thing in your eyes, doesn’t mean that you have to sink to their level. Two wrongs never make it right.

And here’s the thing… The right thing is often not the easy thing to do.  It may require an uncomfortable discussion, or a face to face meeting with someone you would rather not have to see any more, or having to listen to some uncomfortable home truths about your part/role in the situation. Or simply to suck it up and move on. Or, the opposite of that, to take on the bully, the Goliath.

But there is a reason why it is called the “right” way, and that is that the other way rarely gets the desired outcomes — for anyone.

Until next week, happy reading!

Tammy Tansley Consulting - Change and Culture

Ps. Did you read last week’s blog on does workplace culture matter? Or is just all about HR being warm and fuzzy?

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