I’m proud to be hosting a slightly different guest post about ethical business ownership today. This one is from someone who would prefer to remain anonymous but I know we would both love to hear your views on this topic.

Do your business and personal values as a leader actually align with your actions?

There’s a growing, worrying trend in the ethical and sustainable startup community. People (let’s tell it how it is – white, middle-aged, rich, privileged men) think that slapping the word ‘sustainability’ or ‘ethical’ on their business and preaching about how their product will change the world, means that nobody will examine whether the internal workings and leadership of their business need to be brought into line with their supposed business values.

Some examples of how the business values in your marketing might not actually align with how you run your business:

1 – Your team and/or board is totally un-diverse.

If you look at your team, do you see a sea of neurotypical, non-disabled, cishet people or do you have a genuine interest and desire to make your business inclusive?

2 – You don’t treat your team how you want to be treated.

Are you expecting staff or freelancers to do work in their own time ‘for the good of the business’? Do you pay invoices on time, every time? Do you speak to people with respect? If your actions are inconsistent with how you’d like someone else to treat you, please change!

3 – You ask for advice but don’t take it.

A good leader is self-aware and relies on their team to help them grow their business in a way that is more dynamic than just “your way”. When you ask your team for advice and feedback, do you really take it on board or do you just go through the motions of asking and do it your way anyway? If you don’t want to discover different ways of doing things, just don’t ask.

We have a huge opportunity here to build a generation of business owners who are doing good AND being good – are you one of them?