Posted on

How to deal with ethical issues in project management

Sometimes, it is not easy to know the right and wrong choices when it comes to work.
Many project managers will have to deal with ethical issues at some point. They can manifest themselves in interpersonal disputes or in the larger project goal. These are some common problems that you might encounter while leading your team to the finish.
Post-project repercussions.
You might be asked to oversee and deliver a project in a short time frame. You may have to forgo certain elements in order to complete the project on schedule. Otherwise, the project could be canceled. You may need to find shortcuts. However, the results of your project may have lasting effects. What do you do when the outcome of your project is uncertain? Consider the stakes. Consider the stakes if you work in pharmaceutical development. Your team could really use extra resources or time before the drug hits the market. You may discover that a substandard drug can have severe side effects long-term. If the stakes are less, such as the risk to the long-term, in healthcare, you might choose to continue with your amended project knowing all the risks.
Different work ideologies may exist among your team members.
Multi-generational teams may be more susceptible to this problem. The baby-boomer generation may have a more traditional outlook and prefer to work long hours. Generation X, Y and Millennial team members may be more open to technology and seek a better balance between work and life. How can you work with diverse teams and meet everyone’s needs? Prevention is key. It is important to make it clear what your company’s policies are regarding employee expectations. Make sure you reiterate these to your team before you start a project. Encourage communication between your team members and with you, if necessary.
Managers are responsible for the project’s failure.
First, success in a project is not guaranteed. Second, don’t take it personally if you experience a failure. To find out why the project failed, you should conduct a “post mortem”. Sometimes, failure can be all about you. Perhaps you didn’t delegate the right element or missed your deadline. No matter what the reason, you must take responsibility. You risk destroying the trust you have built with your team if you try to sweep it under the carpet or assign blame to someone else. Your team will likely already know that you failed to manage them. So don’t underestimate honesty, communication, and transparency.
One member of the team dropped the ball.
This is a difficult one. It’s okay to admit to your mistakes as a project manager. Can you assign blame to someone else on your team if they fail? The simple answer is no. It will not be beneficial to point out one of your team members’ shortcomings in front of the whole team. Shame is not the best way to build your team’s capacity for future projects. If a team member fails to perform due to a larger ethical problem, such as theft, you may need to take external disciplinary action. However, you should keep the details of this situation private. If you are the one who fails, then consider it a team failure and move on.
Seek outside help if you are unsure how to handle a problem in your team. You can get help from mentors, colleagues, and your HR department to see the project through. You don’t have to be the leader just because you are.