!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Ethical Dimension of Influencing Up

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Ethical Dimension of Influencing Up

Late last month Marshall Goldsmith, a recognized expert on coaching, wrote on his blog about how organizations can and should encourage employees to speak up when they believe an ethical lapse may be in the offing.

In his post, Goldsmith offers a helpful set of guidelines for "encouraging upward challenge and preserving corporate integrity." In brief:
  • Anyone asked to do something that he/she believes could be unethical has a responsibility to speak up.

  • If your manager does not respond satisfactoriy to your expression of concern, you should escalate to the next level of management.

  • A manager who discourages upward challenges should be fired.

  • Any employee guilty of an ethics violation should be fired — regardless of the value and quality of the employee's work.

  • "Employees who do not feel comfortable using the normal chain of command" — for example, because of fear of how their manager will react — "should be provided with an alternative mechanism for upward communication" and "be trained on how and when to use these alternate channels."

  • "Managers should proactively ask for suggestions on how to improve the organization, rather than passively waiting for employees to express concerns."

  • "Both managers and employees should be trained on how to encourage and provide upward challenge."
Marshall Goldsmith offers additional thoughts concerning upward influence in the video below. (The first half of the video deals with modern business leadership; Goldsmith's comments on influencing up begin at 5:44.)