Paul Falcone believes that ethics need to return to the workplace with passionate intention. As a twenty-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Paul has handled his fair share of ethical decisions. It was early on in his career at Paramount Pictures where he was a Trainer that Paul got hooked on encouraging people to be thoughtful about ethics.
At #SHRM22, Paul will be sharing thoughts in his session based upon his recently launched Harper Collins book, Workplace Ethics: Mastering Ethical Leadership and Sustaining a Moral Workplace. Paul’s experience as a professor at UCLA where he teaches ethics and morality in the workplace make him uniquely qualified to deliver on such a message. And after speaking with Paul, he is committed to addressing the crisis in leadership caused by the deterioration of ethical considerations.
What Paul sees in workplaces are people who desire to see a changed world but unsure as to how to get there. With movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, we are given clarity into a social movement of responsibility, truth and action. For Paul, this clearly shows a need for healing and for direction. But who will be the ones to provide such direction? And how will we show our employees how to get there?
Falcone believes that organizational leadership must help to quiet the room so that there is space for each person to be heard. Part of the responsibility of a leader is to shield employees from what’s coming at them and then help them to process an approach for dealing with it. The example of leaders can and should serve to equip, inspire and motivate teams in understanding and acting upon an ethical direction. “What you do when no one is looking,” says Falcone, “is what ethics is.” If you are not sure where your ethical barometer is, then look to those alone moments.
The fallacy that ethics shows itself as judgment is an alignment that Falcone would like to change. There are moral emotions such as anger, guilt, even revelation and awareness. These emotions are to be explored. Falcone believes that leadership can encourage an understanding of the difference between beingness and doingness; these visceral emotions can be a starting point for change and action. Most organizations assign value only to what someone is doing; that is a type of compliance, but it’s not evidence of individuals having hearts and minds pierced with moral considerations. How one’s work and one’s interactions intertwine bring light to the ethical compass being used.
Paul spent time talking about servant leadership when we spoke. He is passionate about calling leaders to such a consideration. The more leaders serve and guide teams, the more those teams learn to motivate themselves. They have more confidence in how they will contribute to the whole and how they can serve those around them.
Falcone understands that talking about morality in the workplace can feel out of place, but he affirms the fact that morality shows up regardless of our talking about it or not. People make decisions that are ethically based daily. Organizational leaders are in a position to encourage and train their teams to understand better their moral compass and to know how to intentionally act. #SHRM22 is where Paul Falcone hopes to motivate HR leaders to go back and serve their organizations similarly.