The key difference between an ethical person and an unethical one is that the former always thinks in terms of long-term perspectives and consequences both for themselves and their partners. An ethical person considers both employers and subordinates as partners when building their career. If the person owns a business and is an employer, they also view their employees as partners.
An ethical boss or business owner assumes that everyone is working toward a common goal and partnership relations should benefit both parties.
An unethical person doesn’t think too far ahead. They focus on getting the most benefits right away. If an ethical employee works hard both for themselves and for the company, an unethical one will look for opportunities to work as little as possible and scoop up as many rewards as they can.
The same principle works for customer relations, whether in your own business or in an employment situation.
An ethical professional will do their best to make sure that a customer is happy with the service and leaves in a good mood, subsequently recommending the company and the specialist to all their friends.
An unethical employee, on the other hand, will do their best to get rid of the customer, to do things just anyhow, slapdash, for the sake of appearances. Clients always get in the way of non-ethical people.
Reasonable, ethical employees realize that customers in a store, passengers of any type of public transportation or clients of services are, first and foremost, people who pay their money for products or services rendered and that is precisely the money from which their paycheck comes, as well as being the money from which overhead and profit are paid.
People who have no ethical values don’t think that way. They are absolutely certain that they get too little, that they are criminally underpaid for their “Herculean efforts” while they, poor dears, are overworked. You can recognize them by their “I work as you pay me” motto.
Naturally, there are cases when a company really does pay less than the market value of the services. But even in those cases ethical and unethical people behave differently.
An ethical person will try to give the company a better value and sometime later will negotiate for a salary commensurate with the level of performance. If they meet no understanding of their request, they will quietly leave the company, moving on to another one on better terms. Unethical person, on the other hand, will have grievances, submit complaints and will sling mud at the company everywhere they go.
Having taken a new job, an ethical person will continue to grow. They will keep in mind the long-term perspective, including their own: where they’ll be in 5-10 years, what else they need to learn, what skills they need to acquire.
Such an employee has no problem with the idea that at the end of the contract (if it is set for one year, for example), they will switch to a better job. Alternatively, they may talk to their current employer about getting a raise. Naturally, they will do so with no emotional manipulation and not by using the victim stance.
They will bring forth rational and easily-proved arguments. For instance, they may mention that in the course of this year, they have acquired certain skills which improve the quality of their work; that they have brought specific measurable benefits to the company; that now, in addition to their key duties they perform other tasks not mentioned in the contract; that they have implemented certain valuable solutions, etc. That is why their value to the company has become objectively higher in the course of the year.
An unethical person during that time will, at best, “establish relationships,” seek out opinion leaders and try to please them instead of conscientiously performing their duties.
If we use the psychological age model to classify ethical and unethical behavior in business or a career, we have the following picture.
When considering their actions and relationships with business partners, an ethical, psychologically adult person, whether a businessman or an employee, has in mind the long-term perspective. They keep growing and honing the skills needed to achieve even better results.
When entering into contracts or any kind of agreements, such a person will try to carry out the win-win approach. For such a person, business reputation is not an empty phrase, but at the same time, they will not allow anyone to manipulate them by using it.
A psychologically immature, but ethical and kind person simply tries to do the best job they can. They know how to be grateful, value being appreciated, and never lie or steal even if it is impossible to check on them or to prove anything. They never speak ill or gossip about their employer behind their back.
Intelligent leaders value people like that and in the long-run, they can expect long-term relationship and loyalty that is evident, among other things, in their salary.
An unethical, infantile employee, on the other hand, will start foolishly stealing anything that’s not nailed down. They’ll chat with colleagues all day long, play computer games and hang out on social media. At the end of the day, very well, they will do some slipshod work.
A psychologically adult unethical person will certainly try to draw away the client base for their own use or to offer it to the competition. Given a chance, they are sure to take large bribes.
Often enough, such people, having stolen all they could, having ruined the business, having failed in all their obligations and having ill-spoken and gossiped, open a competing company. Unfortunately, this happens widely.
Most people don’t realize that nowadays you cannot build a long-term career or business with lies, theft, fraud, by violating your obligations or breaking deadlines, etc.
So, if we take a look at the long-term perspective of the processes going on now, at key points, ethical people will have an advantage over the unethical ones.