Pride & Professionalism: Building your own personal code of ethics
February 4, 2015
Most organizations have a code of ethics that act as a guideline for professional conduct and understanding the difference between “right” and “wrong” within the organization. The company you work for now probably has a code of ethics that you were given when you were hired. The code of ethics given to you by your company is a great guide to being a professional in the workplace and be a model employee for that company.
You are now the walking image of the company and representing clients on behalf of the company. Why not take that image to the next level and brand yourself? Take pride in what you do and how you do it by creating your own personal code of ethics. By building your own code of ethics and following them you are taking pride in what you do and who you are. You should take your professionalism personally and seriously. Here is how you can build your own code of ethics and how doing it will benefit you personally and professionally.
How to build your own code of ethics:
- Learn what a code of ethics is. It is a comprehensive system of right and wrong. It is a set of guidelines to help you make decisions based on your own conscience.
- Research existing codes to develop your own. Look for ideas and align your ethics with those of your company’s if you see fit. Also, take a look at CAI National’s Professional Manager Code of Ethics. Ask yourself which specific ideas make sense to you and which do not. Ask yourself questions like, Do you believe that it is important to help others, even if it is not convenient?
- Write down your ideas. It’s best to save it on your computer or write in pencil, so that you’ll be able to edit it later if you need to. You code of ethics can change to fit the environment and situation you are in.
- Look for patterns and organize your ideas into specific principles. Maybe you are against all types of violence, so a strict adherence to “nonviolence” would be one of your principles. Usually, you will find that most of your opinions can be grouped into several principles. This is your code of ethics.
- Adjust your code through trial and error. Once you have something on paper, try to apply the guidelines to your real life experiences. If you find that you actually feel differently in practice, you may need to change one or more of your ideals.
- Know and understand the law as it applies to you and your situation. Take the time to figure out how the law relates to you and how it applies to day to day situations. In some cases, “the law” may mean the policies of your work place or organization. It is important to know how these rules relate to you and how they are enforced.
How your own code of ethics will benefit you personally and professionally:
- Respect. Visibly living by a specific ethical code will help you to gain respect from anyone you come in contact with; board members, homeowners, coworkers, etc.
- Trust. Rules promote trust, especially when they are followed consistently. When you follow a code of ethics people trust you and honesty comes with trust.
- Responsibility. When you take responsibility for your actions, everyone benefits. Responsibility is accountability and honesty, and holding yourself accountable promotes these good character traits in others who see them in you. If a board and homeowners see that you are taking responsibility for the community and care, then they will start caring and holding themselves responsible.
Building your own code of ethics will allow you to grow personally and professionally. Start out small with maybe just one or two codes to follow. If you do not have time to create your own, start by following your company’s code of ethics and CAI’s Professional Manager Code of Ethics. You can ask your boss or someone in human recourses for the company’s code of ethics or mission statement and you can find the CAI Manager code of ethics at www.caionline.org. Take pride in who you are and what you do.