Ethics and professionalism

It seems that these days you can’t turn on a TV, open a newspaper or surf the Internet without hearing or reading about some professional being unethical. Whether it be a company changing its report results, an athlete taking banned drugs, a politician being involved in a cover up or a teacher in a prohibitive relationship with a student, they all violate a standard of behavior that is expected of professionals.

Professional ethics encompasses the personal, organization and cooperate standards of behavior expected of professionals. The road to excellence and success begins with ethics.

We, as Activity Professionals, have worked long and hard to gain the respect we deserve and the recognition of being the professionals we are. Within our respective organizations we have codes of ethics that we must adhere to in order to retain our membership and professionalism. When was the last time you read those codes of ethics? (Have you ever read them?)

Here are a few standards you should consider as the foundation of ethical behavior.

  • Be honorable and act with integrity. Behave in a manner that is honest, truthful, open and transparent, not seeking personal gain or advantage.
  • Be trustworthy. Those who exhibit trustworthiness are on a fast track to professionalism. Fulfill assignments, be dependable and reliable. Don’t compromise on your expectations. Be accountable and accept responsibility for your actions and the consequences, good or bad.
  • Be courteous and respectful. Being friendly, polite and well-mannered makes interactions run smoothly, avoids conflicts and earns respect. Respect must be built over time and can be lost with one inconsiderate action. Gained respect has to be maintained.
  • Be fair and objective. This requires intellectual honesty and impartiality. It involves a subordination of one’s own feelings, prejudices and desires to achieve a proper balance of conflicting interests. A true professional should not berate or belittle the path one is taking to achieve certification but rather praise the effort and journey in achieving the goal.
  • Be ethical. Ethical behavior is to behave in a manner that is consistent with what is generally considered to be right or moral. It is always safe to “play by the rules.” It may cause friction in some organizations but any ethical organization will always stand by the right moral decisions and action of its members.

Behaving ethically is at the heart of what it means to be a professional. It differentiates professionals from others in the workplace. It is the difference between success and failure and can open doors for you. Check your actions. How ethical are you?

Lorre Baird, BS, AP-BC, ADC, CDP, is Director of Compliance and Ethics at the National Association of Activity Professionals Credentialing Center and President of the South Carolina Activity Professionals Association. She serves as the Resident Services Director for Methodist Manor in Florence, S.C.





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