Things to Consider When Writing Your Personal Code of Ethics
You may have come across a code of ethics at work where your employer outlines the professional conduct and values they expect from you. However, if you have your own personal values that you would like to abide by, you might find a personal code of ethics more suitable. Read on to find out more and see personal code of ethics examples at the end.
What is a code of ethics?
To understand the essence of a personal code of ethics, let us first uncover what “code of ethics” means. A code of ethics is usually a set of principles that a company, organization, or business follows. Its primary purpose is to guide the organization members on how to properly conduct business that is in line with the company values. Usually, these values include integrity, honesty, and professionalism.
Otherwise known as the “ethical code,” an organization’s code of ethics is an umbrella term that covers areas concerning professional conduct. These areas include business ethics, code of conduct for employees, and code of professional practice. Simply put, it ensures that everyone within the organization follows a standard when it comes to ethical behavior in their everyday work.
An organization’s code of ethics may differ greatly from another organization, but in general, they all are similar in the sense that they govern members to do what is right. They are usually under the basis of what is generally accepted by society as right or wrong.
What are the benefits of having a personal code of ethics?
You may already follow a code of ethics within your organization or as imposed by your employer. However, there are clear advantages to having your very own personal code of ethics that are based on your own personal beliefs and the values that you look up to the most. Here’s how a personal code of ethics can help you:
- Help you make decisions that align with your values.
- Make it through tough choices without having second thoughts.
- Steer you towards activities or missions that you will find meaningful and worthwhile.
- Reinforce your individual values.
- Provide you with clarity.
- Guide you in the right direction in your life.
Writing a personal code of ethics
If you agree that having a personal code of ethics is a good idea, here are some pointers to consider when drafting your own code of ethics to serve as your guiding principles:
Why are you writing a personal code of ethics?
The first thing you need to uncover before you even begin is your motivation for writing a personal code of ethics. What do you think is its purpose for you? How do you plan to use it, and why do you think you need one?
Knowing the reason why you are writing a code of ethics for yourself will help you determine where to start as you write it. It will also help you tailor your code of ethics to achieve a specific goal you want to reach or a personal challenge that you want to overcome, similar to that of a personal mission statement.
One way you can determine the purpose of your personal code is through mindfulness. Learn more about how you can use spiritual mindfulness to experience personal growth through this course.
What are your top personal traits?
How would you describe yourself? While this question may seem like something you would only hear during a job interview, it is important to ask when trying to determine which values are on the top of your list as you write your code of ethics.
To do this, make a list of the traits or characteristics that strongly define who you are. Examples are kindness, honesty, passion for excellence, prudence, hard work, diligence, and respect for others. Apart from introspection, you may also ask people around you to describe you or see if they agree with your own list of characteristics.
Knowing the personal traits you possess will allow you to create a more honest personal code of ethics that you can stick to with ease because it reflects values that are already inherent within you.
Describe your relationship with others
Another thing you have to consider before crafting your code of ethics is the nature, state, and quality of your personal relationships. Make an assessment of how you relate to those around you, at work or at home.
Coming to terms with the state of your relationships allows you to see areas where you may want to improve. Would you want to communicate better with the people around you? Do you think you should treat others with more kindness? How would you want those closest to you to remember you?
Write a set of statements that you would like to follow
This is the part where you begin to draft your personal code of ethics. Based on the traits that you possess and the relationships you currently have, what characteristics would you like to move forward?
It would help if your statements are to the point and realistic so that you are more likely to follow through.
Set clear guidelines for each statement
A statement alone may not be enough to help you decide whether or not to pursue an activity or behavior. There are a lot of possible grey areas that may surround a specific code. That is why it is important to set clear guidelines that explain each statement in more detail.
Personal code of ethics examples
To give you an idea of what a personal code of ethics looks like, here are a few good examples:
- I will respect others at all times. Regardless of someone’s age, ethnicity, or status in life, I will treat them with respect and kindness. I will also respect other people’s property, personal or religious beliefs, and personal choices.
- I will be honest and have integrity. The truth should always prevail. I will conduct myself with honor and integrity and remain truthful and honest even if no one is watching. There must be no lying, concealment of the truth, stating half-truths, or stealing from my part.
- I will remain accountable for my mistakes. It is inevitable for people to tame mistakes, so I should own up to my shortcomings and strive not to repeat them to improve myself and become a better person. I will not place blame on others to save myself or my reputation.