Military ethics can mean a wide range of things. It can encompass all aspects of military conduct, from writing performance reviews on subordinates to relations of military personnel with their civilian leaders to issues related to war.

In my doctoral course work, the discussion about ethics was very impactful. Yet, ethics is essential in everything we do in life.

The quote – “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties, no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

In today’s fast-paced environment, leaders (in any profession) have been challenged on meeting deadlines and being transparent.

This fast-paced environment can cause a leader with good character to justify or rationalize lying to meet the impossible deadlines of their Higher Headquarters. Even so, your ego can cause you to justify or rationalize certain behaviors that may be deemed unethical.

What’s your justification or rationalization for turning in an evaluation report with incorrect information. For example, statistical data that is a few percentages off or giving an opinion – when specific facts and details are needed?

Lying can be justified by simply saying obscure phrases – like “prioritizing to meet deadlines” or “just check the box” because we don’t have the time to complete all mandatory training.

For law enforcement officers, military, health care workers, and even an individual in the business world, ethics is essential to everything we do to earn the public trust – this is both on and off duty.

As leaders, we must set the example by doing the little things first – maintaining a high level of professional presence, honest about meeting deadlines, respect for others, and (most importantly) following our core values. For instance, Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage (LDRSHIP).

As individuals, our values keep us grounded in which we are entrusted to maintain a high level of integrity and transparency.

Acting ethically is doing the right thing – even if that means missing a deadline to make sure all of the facts and details are present, reporting accurate training data, and telling your spouse, friend, and associates the truth even if that means embarrassment or failure.

In the end, don’t let your ego get in the way of ruining a good relationship with others.


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