The thing to remember about ethics is that sometimes things are unethical but still legal. According to Dictionary.com’s definition, business ethics refers to “the study and examination of moral and social responsibility in relation to business practices and decision-making in business.”
In practice, the following are characteristics of an ethical business owner.
Demonstrates Ethical Business Practices
When someone wants to be ethical they not only talk the talk, but they also walk the walk. They demonstrate their ethics in everything they do in their business, from where they buy their supplies to how they treat their employees and customers.
Ethical Businesses Live by Their Value Statement
Most business owners create a vision and value statement for their business plans, and then they often do not look at it again. But, a truly ethical business doesn’t just write a value statement; they live by their value statements. They look at that value statement before making any decisions to stay in alignment.
An Ethical Business Has Integrity
When someone has integrity, they do not have so-called “situational” ethics. They are consistent in their truthfulness, whether at work or at play. They don’t make rash decisions based on feelings and moods, without thinking it through. They make choices based on their values.
Ethical Businesses Demonstrate Respect for Workers and Customers
There is no way to be an ethical business owner and not respect the people who work for you and who are your customers. That means you must pay people fairly for a fair day’s work, and you must provide the value that you promised to the customers.
Ethical Business Owners Are Honest
It should go without saying that if you’re ethical you must also be honest. Honesty is a cornerstone of ethical business practices. If you’re ethical, you don’t cheat on your taxes or hide personal purchases as a business expense.
Ethical Business Owners Are Loyal
An ethical business owner knows that their employees and customers are what make them successful. Therefore, they are devoted to the people who stand by them and encourage them to maintain their ethical behavior. They truly care about how things affect everyone.
Ethical Businesses Focus on Team Building
A way to spread ethical behavior in any business is to focus on team building, making all parts of your team feel important to the work you do together. While there may be a hierarchy at work, no one fears the managers because they’re all on the same team working toward the same united goal.
Ethical Businesses Care About Their Impact
An ethical business owner cares about the impact they make on their employees, customers, and their community alike. They care about the world at large and not just what they are getting out of their business.
In addition, an ethical business owner has no problem siding on the side of ethics even if it will affect their bottom line. Ethics and business can and do go hand in hand. No one needs to do anything illegal or unethical to run a successful business.