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Moral Virtue and the Internal Communicator

BY mikeklein  

At various times in my career, I have encountered fellow communication professionals who have either said that internal communicators are either a morally virtuous breed, or should aspire to be so.

Some claim this virtue should derive itself from being the “advocate of the employee”, others because our role in supporting our organizations’ objectives through communication is intrinsically “noble.”

I have always rejected these notions.

At our best, Internal Communicators are advocates, who use our skills to benefit the organizations that have hired us, to involve, engage, inform, persuade, and integrate the people whose support is required for their success.

Doing this well means doing this honestly, responsibly and respectfully. In my view, it means assessing the broad mass of stakeholders rather than just one’s own sponsors, and it means helping and challenging those sponsors to look beyond transactional and territorial objectives. And it also means being willing to keep things moving when my advice is adjusted or rejected.

When I am doing this well, I am being an effective professional. Whether it makes me a better—or lesser—person, I will leave for others to judge.



1 thought on “Moral Virtue and the Internal Communicator”

  1. Let’s put “nobility” aside for a moment and focus on integrity. In my many years in corporate communications i have considered it a matter of personal and professional integrity to help ensure that employees are informed of matters relevant to them and their livelihoods in an open, straightforward and timely way. Why is this an issue? Because of the tendency of corporations to be more inclined to deliver good news than bad; their reluctance to be open about relevant numbers, such as how many people will be affected by layoffs and reorganizations; and their predisposition to seek positive-sounding but sometimes disingenuous explanations for decisions that have a negative impact on employees. If professional communicators do not resist these tendencies, it has been my experience, nobody else will.

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