Origins of the unethical coworker
Very few people head into the workforce with the intention of breaking rules and ethical boundaries. No, unethical workers tend to be shaped and molded that way by their environment. When doing the right thing isn’t leading to success and recognition, many develop a “by any means necessary” attitude to get the job done. If management sets unobtainable goals, an employee may be forced to result to unethical means in order to meet them. Other times, employees start off ethical, but notice that those around them are cheating to get ahead. This puts them at a tough ethical dilemma. “Should I continue to act ethically even if it puts me at a disadvantage?” No one wants to be the worst performer in the office. People have families to take care of and they cannot afford to be fired just because they are be outperformed by coworkers that are using unethical means to get ahead. As you can see, there are numerous causes of an unethical work environment. Most of them are out of your control, but how should you deal with it if you want to be ethical in an office that simply wants to win.
Gain both respect and an ethical work environment
Whether you are on day one of the job or day one-thousand, it is time you stand up for yourself and your workplace. Staying silent while others are behaving in unethical manner will only lead to you having to decide between falling behind or compromising your morals. To change the environment start with the coworkers. When you see unethical behavior talk to the culprit. You work hard and came a long way to get where you are. By others being unethical they put you at an unfair disadvantage. This can eventually cost you your job or stagnation in the company. Once everyone is ethical it will lead to a relaxed work environment where merit leads to success. Ethical companies lead to trust among coworkers and clients. People will work as a team and not as separate competitors. Regardless if your coworkers change their behavior, they will see that you are a person of valor and character. This will lead to respect and make you a valuable asset to the company. Unethical coworkers need to hear why what they are doing hurts everyone and why you don’t appreciate it. When you approach them about their behavior instead of going above their heads or acting vindictively it will lead to more respect. Bottom line: be a person character and conviction even in unethical work environments.