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Reasons to Develop a Personal Ethics Statement

The Importance of Influencing Others

Have you ever thought about sharing your core values and beliefs with others? You may want to use a personal ethics statement to let others know what you stand for. For example, it could be used as part of your job application process.

A personal ethics statement includes ideals that are important to a person, such as honesty or integrity. In the statement, a person defines these values and describes what they will and will not do to live by them. Increasingly, ethical wills have been used to pass on one’s values to heirs.

What are personal ethics?

Personal ethics is the code of ethical guidelines that guide you in your personal life. They often develop from your core values and work ethic. Your personal ethics can, and likely will, contain common ethical guidelines that other people share, but they will vary in their level of importance and how to maintain them.

Some common personal ethics are included in an article on the website, Indeed.

  • Integrity
  • Selflessness
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Equality and fairness
  • Empathy and respect
  • Self-respect

How to write a personal ethics statement

Follow these tips to write a clear and effective personal ethics statement:

  1. Consider your audience.
  2. Identify your goals.
  3. List what influences you.
  4. Write about your beliefs and practices.
  5. Clarify your “why."

Consider your audience.

How you write your statement changes based on your audience. Writing a statement that other people read requires you to be more structured and thorough with your explanations so that readers can understand your goals, values, and mission.

After understanding who will be reading your personal ethics statement, it is important to determine your personal ethics statement’s purpose. Is it to influence others you encounter during your lifetime and define what you stand for as an employee?

 List what influences you

Be sure to list what influences you. These are the influences that help you develop your understanding of ethics and the principles you chose. For some people, personal traits can also be a significant influence. You can identify the characteristics you have, such as elements of your personality that inform the choices you make.

A significant part of creating your personal ethics statement is to come up with easy-to-understand examples. You can do this by writing about your beliefs and practices. Your beliefs help shape your ethics and can be a defining part of your identity. So, they can be included in your statement as a way of solidifying your thoughts on ethics.

It is important to clarify why you chose the ethical principles that you have. Everyone develops an ethical code through experiences. If you want people to understand your ethics, you can provide a clear example of why your ethical principles are important or how you use them in your career development. Focus on the core values that influence your daily actions and shape your personal ethics. This will make it easy for other people to not only understand your personal ethics statement but also to understand why your ethics are important. Ethics statement

Personal Integrity Statement

A Personal Integrity Statement acknowledges that your life must have a purpose greater than serving yourself. The goal is to serve the greater good by bringing together people and resources to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore, you will seek a course of action that enhances the value you and others can follow to positively influence society. Here is one such example:

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an honest and ethical manner.
  • I will obey the letter and spirit of the law.
  • I will take responsibility for my actions and consider the effects on others.
  • I will strive to create a sustainable economic and social environment.
  • I will be accountable to myself and to my peers for living by this oath.

Professional Ethics Statements

Virtually all professions have a code of ethics that sets out the ideals by which the organization works, the values to be followed, and the expectations for employees.

A personal ethics statement can help you understand your priorities in the workplace. If you prioritize doing a good job and being highly productive, then you may make a good business leader. There are many situations where you will need to decide on the right course of action. This is especially true if you lead a team or are a high-level executive in your company. Having a list of criteria can make weighing your options easier.

Once you know what you will and won’t focus on, you can use your personal ethics statement to set goals for your development. You can identify which values matter most to you and identify opportunities and future steps you should pursue.

Creating a personal ethics statement is an effective way to help advance your career, especially when applying to a leadership position or a position that requires a strong set of personal ethics. Knowing what you value and what you stand for can help you decide on a leadership style that enables you to lead teams to progress and success.

Ethical Will

One form of a personal ethics statement is developed through an Ethical Will. An Ethical Will is a personal document that you can create to communicate your values, experiences, and life lessons to your family. Typically, it is a way to reach out and influence the behavior of loved ones even after you have gone. This type of Will is purely voluntary.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to ethics statements, especially an Ethics Will, as I get older to positively influence loved ones to act in accordance with The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you wish to be treated. These are words to live by as is the statement that while we have the right to do many things, that doesn’t mean the way handle them is the right thing to do. We should consider the consequences of our intended actions before we decide not after when we may be forced to explain away our behavior.

Posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on March 18, 2021. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: Follow him on Facebook at: and on Twitter at: