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What Would You Do? 20 Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders

What Would You Do? 20 Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders

September 23, 2009

I’ve been watching an ABC News television series called “What Would You Do?" It’s a fascinating study of human behavior. Everyday people are secretly filmed in situations where they are faced with a choice, usually involving an actor or actors staging a scenario.

It reminds me of “Scruples," the classic party game where players draw cards with a variety or moral dilemmas and discuss their answers. It then turned into a kind of online social networking meme in the “early days” of blogging.

Here are some of the ABC WWYD scenarios that have been aired:
- You see someone stealing at an open house… what would you do?
- You see a man putting a drug in his date’s drink… WWYD?
- You witness someone stealing someone else’s gas while they are in the store paying…. WWYD?
- You witness a racist deli clerk treating an immigrant customer rudely… WWYD?
- A child appears to be lost in the mall….WWYD?
- You accidentally receive a confidential email about your manager about to be laid off. You know he is about to close on an expensive house. WWYD?

When I saw the last one, I thought it might be interesting to resurrect the old Scruples game, and create a “Leadership Scruples” game, or a series of workplace “What Would You Do” scenarios for leaders. Actually, it doesn’t have to be for just formal leaders… anyone can play… I’ve just tried to give it a leadership slant to better fit the purpose of this blog.

Here’s my starter list. (Many of these are from the now defunct website, “Saturday Scruples”). You can use these as a part of a leadership development program, a leadership team meeting icebreaker, or just to challenge yourself or perhaps your co-workers. Please feel free to comment with your answer to any scenario, or add your own leadership WWYD.

Warning: I actually tried this once as a part of a business ethics workshop. While it worked pretty well for the majority of participants, two of them wouldn’t let it go, and the “debate” ended up spilling into the evening dinner. So play it with others at your own risk.

Next page: The starter list

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