I recently saw a study that says women are more moral than men and they make better decisions as leaders, because they first take into consideration how their decisions affect those around them.
The study’s findings were bolstered by the fact 60,000 people had completed a morality survey. I decided I would be No. 60,001.
The online survey was simple enough. It asked a variety of questions about how you view yourself and the acts you commit. Are you compassionate? Do others think you are honest? Do you consider every possible outcome before you make a decision?
Standard questions you find in all sorts of these surveys. But this one was different.
It asks you to answer the questions from the perspective of your personal life and then ask the same questions as they pertain to your work life.
I was stunned. The survey apparently suggests that you can have a separate set of morals for working than living.
In the end, it evaluates your answers and places you in one of six personality types: philosopher, judge, angel, teacher, enforcer, or guardian.
Each of those is easy to define as a general personality type. Yet the idea that you can be, say, an angel at home and an enforcer at work somehow rings hollow.
You cannot change yourself when you cross the threshold of your workplace. I know some people try: they adopt game faces or try to assume new character traits when it comes to work.
But that doesn’t work. You are what you are.
It’s like watching the TV commercial of the salesmen and the small kids. He offers them a gift, but when they do what he says to qualify for the gift, he rules them ineligible on a technicality. The kids easily recognize the bait-and-switch.
Your fellow employees will, too. If you try to be something other than yourself on the job, everyone you work with – from the top executive offices to the mailroom – is going to recognize that you are not genuine.
Your moral compass doesn’t change when you go to work. It simply can’t.
Your morality is hatched out of your upbringing, your education, your spiritual beliefs, your relationships with others and your life experiences. You use all of those things to determine who you are and their combination establishes your morality.
There is no way to separate yourself as an individual and as an employee. If your employer thinks otherwise, you’re probably in the wrong job. At the very best, you will be unlikely to find success in your job. At the very worst your life on the job will simply be miserable.
As for the morality test, my test answers identified me as a philosopher.
The test says philosophers believe moral principle to be most important. They ask, “What would be the honest or courageous thing to do?” Then they consider the consequences to others. Finally and reluctantly they will consider rules, laws, and regulations.
My view is that’s probably about right for me. The survey says 17 percent of testers have this personality type.
But I couldn’t help recalling the sage wisdom of the early 20th century philosopher, Popeye the Sailor Man. He pretty much nailed it when he said, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.”