Establishing a code of conduct with accountability (Proceedings)


Establishing a code of conduct with accountability (Proceedings)

Oct 01, 2008

What are your expectations and hopes for how people behave at work? To get a "good attitude" from everyone, involve them in creation of expectations for behavior. These expectations are often called "Norms," "Ground rules," or a "Code of Conduct." Do you have these? If not, ask the team to work together to create them.

Your interpersonal code of conduct

Your code of conduct is an agreement among yourselves about how you will interact. Share the example here, and then work together to create your own. Use specific words and descriptions in your code (preferably, words that describe something that can be heard or seen). For example, a "good attitude" cannot be seen or heard. "Smiles and says 'hello' in the morning" can be seen and heard. It is okay to start with those kinds of general terms, as long as you then work together to define them more clearly. Gather ideas about your standards of courtesy and conduct. Sort, refine, and develop your ideas until everyone feels they can support the result.

Sample code of conduct
I assume positive intentions by others.
I speak respectfully to and about others.
I elicit, welcome, and offer diverse opinions.
I continually practice active listening.
I am clear about my responsibilities (and ask if I am not).
I pitch in whenever necessary.
I celebrate others' successes.

I strive to be courteous. That includes:
I say "Please" and "Thank you."
I avoid swearing.
I smile whenever possible.
I do not make slurs or jokes about race, religion, or gender. If I am informed that a word or phrase may be interpreted negatively by others, I avoid using it.
I strive to ensure that what I say could be heard by any client or co-worker without negative interpretation.

I am clear about my needs, questions, and concerns. That includes:
I think and feel for myself.
I use "I" messages.
I avoid use of body language to convey negative emotions.
I do not complain without discussing future positive alternatives.
I take responsibility for speaking up and sharing my thoughts.

I respect others' boundaries. That includes:
I do not make assumptions about others' intentions or feelings.
I ask questions when another person's action has an impact on me.
I let others speak up for themselves; I do not take responsibility for their issues. I do not think or feel for other people.