THE POWER of ETHICAL TRUST and Sexual Harassment

Ethical Trust: Exploring how ethics and trust interact to create
better, more open, and successful work environments.

Ethical Trust and Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment in the workplace has become one of the most important issues confronting organizations today. A new ethos is emerging forcing organizations to reexamine how they operate, function, and train its staff. To fulfill compliance demands, many sexual harassment training programs emphasize the legal technicalities and punitive aspects of the law. The overall impact though may be counterproductive - increasing trepidation, mistrust, and stress in the work environment. (A recent article in the Wall Street Journal concurs.)

Ethical Trust, on the other hand, looks at the problem of sexual harassment from a different angle. Its premise is that better organizational outcomes are created through positive and mutually supportive attitudes that optimize levels of trust throughout an organization.  One of the benefits is a decrease in inter-personal problems in the workplace, such as sexual harassment.

Ethical Trust programs can be customized to address the unique needs of an organization – including content, legal and compliance issues, audience (corporate, management, employees), time, number of sessions, on/offline, et al

Ethical Trust ultimately is about relationships and The Golden Rule:Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

Trust is the goal. Ethics is the actions we take to develop and maintain trusting relationships.

Below is a sampling of the components that may be included  in a custom designed Ethical Trust program:

PART ONE - Introduction

Introducing Ethical Trust:

  • How Ethical behaviors and standards optimize levels of Trust in an organization and are essential to its success.
  • How unethical behaviors and attitudes – such as sexual harassment, discrimination – erode trust and organizational success.

Defining Trust and Ethics:  

  • Trust – relying on the other - person, organization, and/or globally
  • Ethics – the actions and behaviors that support and optimize Trust.

 Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

  • A review of necessary laws and statues regarding sexual harassment

PART TWO – Ethical Trust Survey and Grid

How the Ethical Trust Grid is 
a New Way to See the World     

Conducting Confidential Ethical Trust Survey:

  • Choose which Aspects of Trust to measure
    • Shared Values – Competency – Intentions – Allied Interests – Communications – Integrity  

Survey – 3  Levels:

  • Personal, Organizational, Global

Addressing Violations of Trust: 

  • Why Violations of Trust are so damaging to people and organizations
  • Emotional and Rational nature of Violations of Trust

The Ethical Trust Survey and Grid:

The confidential Ethical Trust Survey and Grid is a simple to use tool that measures levels of Trust in an organization. By segmenting Trust into its Aspects (in this case Integrity, Intentions, and Values) and on different levels (Individual, Organizational, and Global), we develop a roadmap of the ethical actions to take to remedy and improve the working environment. 

The ETHICAL TRUST Principle:  An ideal where individuals, institutions, and community (the stakeholders) share trusting relationships. Each stakeholder’s interests are met - and balanced as much as possible through trusting relationships with all the other stakeholders. Trust is measured, on an individual and group basis, allowing for evaluation and improvement. The actions used to optimize these trusting relationships are ethical strategies.

PART THREE - Ethical Trust Toolbox 

The Ethical Trust Survey and Grid provide data and a way to measure levels of Trust. Now we can apply actions from the Ethical Strategies Toolbox to manage and improve levels of Trust and resolve many charged issues, such a sexual harassment. 

Sample Tools from The Ethical Trust toolbox: 

  • Transparency – Congruency – Listening – Empowerment – Values – Integrity  
  • Addressing Violations of Trust  
    • How to mitigate the underlying impact of Violations of Trust.

Ethical Strategies to develop Trust: 
  • Transparency – Openness within understood and clear boundaries 
  • Congruence – Resolving conflicts of interest
  • Listening – Superior communications
  • Values – Understanding what is important 
  • Empowerment – Encouraging power in others
  • Integrity – Syncing actions with words    

Why ETHICAL TRUST and not simply Ethics or Trust?

Ethics creates Trust. Ethical standards and behaviors are the guarantee that the Trust offered is real and will not be broken or violated.

PART FOUR - Follow Up and Review 

One of the unique features of Ethical Trust is that it  provides a means to measure levels of Trust.  Follow-up surveys allow managers to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Ethical Trust measurements can be coordinated with other business metrics to follow how levels of Ethical Trust impact the overall success of an organization.

The goal is to optimize levels of Ethical Trust throughout an organization.

Ethics is often defined as “doing the right thing” – discovering the right “actions” to deal with morally complex or ambiguous scenarios.

Ethical Trust provides a perspective of what are the best actions to take – that are both Ethical and will develop and maintain Trust.             

Each Ethical Trust program is customized to the needs of an organization and may omit or add components.)

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