Morals guide you through human interactions, and they keep you from succumbing to temptation. In the workplace, moral character is necessary, because opportunities will arise that might not weigh well on your conscience. Aristotle defined moral character as virtues that remain steady regardless of the situation. Any competitive environment will try your moral character, so a strong sense of moral principles is necessary in the workplace.
Morals and Money
In the business world, you may find yourself with access to more financial power within a company than you might have had on your own. From corporate credit cards to company budgets, you may be managing large accounts and will be responsible for making sound decisions. Ethics comes into play when you are tempted to use that power incorrectly. For example, it might be possible to sneak lunches, dinners and bar tabs onto that company credit card without anyone finding out. Moral character is what keeps you from making that mistake -- one that may never be found out, but one that could kill your career and your chances of sleeping well at night.
Ethics and Colleagues
Working with others requires trust. A coworker may confide in you because she believes you won't repeat what you've heard. Going behind her back may win you favors with a boss, but it will destroy the trust you've built with your colleagues and will render you a backstabber and corporate climber. Even worse, you may have a rude awakening later in your career if someone does it to you and you realize how it feels to be stabbed in the back. Moral character is your best friend when it comes to getting along with colleagues.
Morals and Success
A leader needs morals, and no company will trust you with a large amount of responsibility if you fail to demonstrate that you have a strong set of morals. No matter what you're faced with, there are ways in which you will not act. For example, a company should know that you would never put the safety of your colleagues in danger in pursuit of a goal. Likewise, your staff should be able to trust you not to lie to get out of a tight situation.
Morals and Integrity
Consistently striving to do the right thing, not the easy thing, is the sign of an employee with strong moral character. Even when it's hard to admit fault, make a tough decision, or give up a big opportunity, a strong employee never takes the low road or pushes off consequences on someone else. In the end, supervisors and bosses are more aware of what's happening than you may realize. In the long run, doing the right thing and doing the easy thing both will be evident.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.