Ethics & Social Responsibility in Sports
Social responsibility refers to the moral and legal accountability on the part of individuals and corporations toward others and social institutions. Those in leadership positions must be aware of social issues and problems to establish laudable goals and ensure practice are fair and just. As decision-makers, sport managers must treat others with dignity and respect. They must also ensure that the integrity of sport is maintained, and must pledge to do what is best from organizational and communal standpoints.
Where are you in the ethical realm of what you do? I spent a great deal of time telling people that I run my company the same way I run my personal life-with transparency and ethics-and I don't say that from an arrogant or assuming position. I mean it from my heart and you can take it to the bank. The truth of the matter is this... I come from a long line of bad liars. My paternal side of the family has never been very good at fibbing. As a result, we seemed to have evolved into honest people over the generations. Albeit, we are not perfect, but we try to be very honest in all that we do. I am not sure where the perfectionism gene came from, but I have been guilty of that my entire life as well. One of my favorite takeaway stories that I tell colleagues when I'm speaking on leadership is one from my teenage years. I was a band nerd back then. I was so incredibly proud when I became a section leader in high school band. I studied my leadership binder like it was a Bible. I was determined to have the best clarinet section on the planet! I can never truly tell you how leading that group of 7 girls and 1 boy that year changed my life, as it relates to leadership. I was really in it for them. I wanted to teach them the best ways, the right ways to do things. I knew that I could never teach them properly if I wasn't able to do those things too. I remember at one point of early training with them when I confidently told them, "If you're ever not sure of what you're supposed to be doing, look at me. I will be doing it. Do what you see me doing."
By that point, I was 100% committed to being the right kind of leader for these 8 other kids. I was sure that I could always be doing the right thing at the right time. That was marked growth in my personality, my leadership capabilities, and my life. Today, I still stand beside that statement. I believe in leading with honesty and integrity, and always with my clients at the forefront of my decisions. I always want to pause before making a decision to ask myself, "Is this the right thing for my client? It is the right thing to do right now? Is it right in general?"
These are important questions. These have to be the questions you ask when you are making decisions that control other people's futures. If your decisions are made based on money or personal gain, then you must reassess your why. If your why is client focused, you are more likely to make decisions that benefit the client and that success will trickle down to you. Personal ethics feed into business ethics, which in turn plays a huge role in social responsibility and moral business in the sport industry. As leaders, mentors, and managers to athletes, we are positioned to educate our staff, our clients, and ourselves to the importance of maintaining ethical standards in our industry.