Being ethical goes hand in hand with what professionalism entails. An ethical and professional individual is the embodiment of a high quality being with admirable traits. Ethics and professionalism are the basis of integrity in an individual, without subscribing to the two in one’s daily operations a person’s integrity level is highly questionable. Ethics is moral values that regulate one's personal or professional conduct and guide them in the decision making process. Ethics can be set by an individual or a professional body in order to regulate the actions of those subscribed to the given profession. They contain a set of dos and don’ts in different situations. Abiding by ethics demands that one shelf’s their selfish ambitions in terms of material gains and pursue the path of integrity. Being ethical requires one to have a sober mind and a clear conscience, be selfless and remember that it is not the final result of your action that matters but means that you use to attain the outcome.
We all have a conscience. This is the part in an individual that makes one aware on whether their actions are right or wrong. My conscience enables me to distinguish between actions that are noble acceptable from those that are not. An individual’s morality is in most cases based on their cultural and religious views. Before determining what is right or wrong, I reflect on my religious and cultural believes which were imparted in me as I was growing. The environment in which one is brought up has the responsibility to mould them into an individual that subscribes to the moral conduct of the society thus the community plays a big role in how one manages different situations in life. To determine what is right I first reflect on what my beliefs are on a given action. If my beliefs are in conflict with what I’m about to do, that automatically means that what I’m about to do is wrong. When my actions and beliefs are in agreement my actions are likely to be justified. The moral code set by society is in a way that all ethical practices aim at safeguarding its wellbeing thus any deed approved by it is least likely to impact the society negatively. On the other hand, actions that are prohibited by one’s culture or religion may impact the society negatively but be of gain materially or be of pleasure to the person who goes ahead to do what is contrary to the society’s expectation. I consider it right to carry oneself according to the laid down standards in a profession or society rather than contravene the rules for selfish gains (Schlenker, Weigold, Schlenker 2008).
Examples of Ethical Behaviors
Self-control are the ability of one to take charge of desires and emotions for them to achieve a given goal. This virtue is essential for one to succeed in life. My culture clearly lays out that for one to lead a healthy life and to capitalize on their potential one should have self-control. These desires are a distraction to an individual’s goals and if not controlled may lead to self-destruction. One’s desire may be material or even sexual in nature. The society expects one to attain their full potential thus encourage the need to have self-control.
Being just to all is another example of ethical behavior. Justice is essential for peace and cohesion to prevail in a given society. Justice entails treating of all people as equals before the laid down laws and refraining from favoring a few at the expense of others. Society portrays a just individual as respectable and of high moral standings that are admired by all. This encourages me to try my level best to be just in all the decisions I make.
Honesty is a very essential virtue for one to lead a purposeful life and be held to be of high integrity. This virtue demands that one has to be principled and stick to certain virtues that cannot be corrupted at any expense. Culture holds highly honest individuals, and in most cases the society trusts them to be custodians of the most important things to the society. As a result of this, I thrive to ensure I live an honest life and am of high integrity in all my activities.
Loyal individuals are held with high value due to their ability to stand and protect their community in whichever circumstances. Loyal individuals make an independent judgment based on a set of principles. They have high confidentiality and do not take advantage of information at their disposal to gain materially while oppressing others. The society holds them with high regard thus motivating one to strive to emulate this admirable trait. Loyalty and self-control are the virtues that I strive to inculcate in my life. I’m working on improving on the other two virtues.
An ethical hero is an individual who motivates one to ensure that they follow their aspirations in an ethical manner in all practices. My ethical hero is the late Nelson Mandela. He led a movement in South Africa to unify South Africans against racism and the pain they underwent on the hands of their colonizers. He always learned from the mistakes made rather than repeating them. Despite leading the South Africans and succeeding in championing their grievances, he never considered himself as a Messiah but saw himself as an ordinary man who got the opportunity to lead his people as a result of extraordinary circumstances. Nelson Mandela had admirable traits such as humility, courage, authenticity and he was forgiving (Kile, 2013).
A person with humility is an individual who is humble and does hold that he is better than others. His humility is portrayed by the fact that despite all his achievements and admiration by people globally he still was modest on his importance (VIRTUE, 2013).
Despite the oppression and being among the minority group in South Africa, Nelson Mandela was courageous and was able to mobilize other Africans to fight for the rights and cut the chains of oppression. He was in jail for 27 years but still maintained his course. Courage and determination are very important traits mostly in leadership, and Nelson Mandela is among the leaders who portray these traits at their best (VIRTUE, 2013).
Despite his power Mandela was driven by ideals and was ready to die for what he believed in. This brings out the authenticity in what he did (Bruce, 2013).
Above all these admirable traits Mandela was forgiving. Despite wrongfully imprisonment for 27 years, Mandela did not have an iota of hatred to those who convicted him.
Mandela can be a role model to professions due to his selfless nature and always championing for the wellbeing of the society. A selfless individual will refrain from unethical practices and will always try his best to serve humanity so as to make a positive mark in the profession. Mandela’s attributes always motivate me to have a course in life and have determination so as to achieve it. His selflessness also emphasizes the need for servant leadership in this day and age. A selfless society will always achieve more than a society filled with people whose interests override the wellbeing of the society.
Ethical Decision Making
Ethical decision making encompasses making choices that are as per one’s moral principles. The saying” the end justifies the means” is not applicable in making ethical decisions. When it comes to a decision making situation I opt to look at the bigger picture. Each decision made affects a number of people in one way or the other. It is wise to keep in mind the repercussions of a decision to others rather than centralizing one’s judgments. In scenarios where a decision affects a larger scope of individuals, I weigh the magnitude in which it will affect them and what I’m likely to gain or lose after making the decision. Other people’s interests are as important as my personal interests thus the need to look at a wider scope of a situation when making a decision. Personal satisfaction may last for a short period thus the need to be concerned with how your decisions affect others mainly because wrong decisions made affects others for a relatively long period and may lead to circumstances that one may not have foreseen. The decisions I make are most of the times influenced by my parents and the people that I look up to. For instance when making a career decision I had to consult widely. Despite knowing what I wanted to do in the future, I figured out it would be prudent to know what the people close to me consider as my strengths and weaknesses and which career they thought would suite me. Their input is essential mainly due to their high level experience and wisdom. Eventually you may pursue what they were expecting to do, but you may discover some attributes that you were not aware of. This course has affirmed to me the need to make decisions based on ethical ideologies rather than expedient ideologies. A decision may not favor you materially but handling a situation in an ethical manner may cause satisfaction. Expedient ideologies may give short term satisfaction but in the long-run may end up haunting one. Cultural heritage mainly advocates for always following the laid out ideologies which is the right path to follow in order to lead a fulfilled life.
Professional and Ethical Development
Integrity require one to adhere to a set of principles. The principles can be set by a professional body or one can have their personal principles or ideologies. These ideologies are meant for professional growth and personal growth respectively (Schlenker, Weigold, Schlenker 2008). A further development on this subject should be in cases where personal ideologies and professional ideologies conflict which path should one take. Should one pursue personal ideologies over professional ideologies or should one pay more attention to professional ideologies as opposed to personal ideologies? Another development on this subject that should be undertaken is on whether humanity is ready to experience the lowest point of his career/life for the sake of integrity or one should throw integrity out of the window in such circumstances as per the rule “survival for the fittest”. I intend to carry out a development on these two subjects first by carrying out more research on what should be more important to an individual between following his own course or a course set out by a higher body. Secondly, study on whether the human psychological and their behavior in circumstances where they need to make difficult decisions.
Schlenker, B. R., Weigold M. F., & Schlenker, K. A., (2008) What makes a hero? The Impact of Integrity on Admiration And Interpersonal Judgement: Ethical_Hero
Grace VIRTUE. (Tuesday, December 10, 2013). Mandela — the traits that made him great Sense Jamaica Classifieds Retrieved from
Jan Bruce (12/20/2013). 5Resilience Traits We Can All Learn from Nelson Mandela huff post healthy living Retrieved from
J Kile (January 11th, 2014). Nelson Mandela moral heroes