Ethics vs. Morals: Who draws the line in the sand?

When discussing the distinction between right and wrong, “ethics” and “morals” tend to be used as interchangeable terms. However, how ethics and morals are determined varies, and they each have their own impact on how public relations professionals work in their careers.

Ethics

Grammarist defines ethics as “principles of right conduct” and states that they are “practical, conceived as shared principles promoting fairness in social and business interactions.” In simpler terms, ethics are the principles created by a society and the environment in which they are used. An example of this would be PRSA’s Code of Ethics, which determines the ethical guidelines used by public relations practitioners and includes things like a statement of values and provision of conduct.

In every industry, workplace or school you’ll find some sort of ethical code or code of conduct. These are the rules that all members are expected to adhere to, and there can be consequences if these codes are broken.

Morals

Morals draw from a more personal place and can vary person to person. Grammarist defines morals as, “the principles on which one’s judgments of right and wrong are based.” This means that while something may not violate a workplace’s code of conduct, an individual may object and find an action wrong, or at least in a moral grey area.

There are times when your personal morals may conflict with your workplace’s code of ethics. This is a situation where the two may not be interchangeable.

It is important to have a grasp on your personal moral compass when working in public relations, or similar fields, because it can help determine the workplace you choose. For example, if you are a vegan and object to product testing an animals, you would not want to work on a client like a cosmetic company that uses animals for testing. While animal testing may not violate PRSA’s Code of Ethics, you personally object to it.

By: Helena Wilcox

PRSSA Chapter Presidents: Leadership Behind the Scenes

Leaders are everywhere. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the PRSSA National Conference hosted in Indianapolis. Although I enjoyed the numerous workshops and speaker sessions, the best part about conference was reuniting with the chapter leaders I met in Scottsdale during the PRSSA Leadership Rally.

My role as Temple PRSSA chapter president is not easy. To be blunt, it is extremely time consuming and stressful at times. However, I have the greatest support system of PRSSA chapter leaders all over the country. We all have the same ambitious attitude and career interests, but the most important similarity we share is our overall goal: to help strengthen our chapters and educate our members.

During PRSSA National Conference, I attended a few workshops specialized for presidents. During these sessions, we all expressed our struggles, communicated our strengths and exchanged ideas to improve our chapters. These sessions were extremely informative. It was very comforting to see that everyone has similar issues that I am experiencing, and I appreciate all of the encouragement we give each other.

Although National Conference may be the last time I see many of the chapter presidents in person, as we’re all spread throughout the country, I always know that I have their support. (Fun fact: All of the chapter presidents are in a GroupMe together, and we constantly chat!) Through my leadership role as Temple PRSSA chapter president, I have gained so many connections with likeminded students nationwide. In fact, they are not just professional contacts, because I also consider them friends.

By: Kim Leung

Myths of Leadership

Leadership comes in different shapes and forms. Many experts have attempted to determine certain traits and characteristics associated with leadership. Although there are similarities, there is no concrete formula in determining what makes a leader. Since some people do not truly understand the concept of leadership, there are many misconceptions with it. Here are some of the most common myths of leadership.

Leaders are born, not made.

“A natural born leader” is a common expression heard by many. Although said frequently, this does not mean it is true. Leadership is a skill. Like all other skills, it takes time to develop. Some people may find the ability to lead people easier than others. However, that does not mean people cannot learn how to be a more effective leader. Leaders are found in various environments. Anyone can learn how to be a leader.

Leaders know all the answers.

Whenever an issue or crisis arrives, we expect leaders to know how to handle and resolve the situation. However, no leader is perfect. They are just as capable of making mistakes as their followers. Thus, an effective leader has the ability to empower people. This allows followers to be autonomous and solve issues on their own. Furthermore, by empowering people, moments of crisis become easier to manage and navigate through.

Leaders have to be outgoing and constantly vocal.

Leaders are seen as people who are comfortable talking in front of people and are strong public speakers. Extroverts tend to be found in more leadership positions, but that does not mean they make better leaders than introverts. It is important to lead by example, but there eventually comes a point when leaders need to speak up and be engaged in a situation. These skills can be practiced and mastered. There are many aspects to leadership. Although being vocal is one of them, an introvert can still thrive as a leader by being self-aware and knowing when it is important to be vocal.

Everyone can learn the ability to be a leader. A way to help improve on that understands the misconceptions with leadership. Doing so allows people to focus on the skills needed to become an effective leader.

 By: Chris Vazquez

PRSSA Candy Drive!

This season is all about giving! If you love a candy-filled Halloween and helping out those in need, then PRSSA’s upcoming candy drop-off is just for you.

NorthEast Treatment Centers, a nonprofit behavioral health and social service organization, has organized a “Safe Halloween” party for the 22nd district youth and their families. Due to safety concerns for young children, the people of the neighborhood have come together and requested an event to keep the Halloween spirit alive. Youth from the center’s basketball league will be using all donations to help set up for the party being held at the MLK Recreation Center on October 31. The party will feature a costume contest, photo booth and a screening of Hotel Transylvania 2 on a theatre-sized movie screen, that will be provided by nonprofit organization Cinema Ray.

PRSSA will be holding a candy drop-off to donate to NorthEast Treatment Centers to provide for the party. Drop-offs can take place at our meetings, each Tuesday from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in 200A of the Student Center and Mondays at the Temple Student Government’s General Assembly meetings at 4:00 p.m. in room 200C of the Student Center.

The deadline for the candy drop-off will be Friday, October 28.

Feel free to contact Erin Quiles at erin.quiles@temple.edu with any questions!

By: Kacie Ricciotti

Qualities of a Leader: What It Takes, and How You Can Be One Too

Nowadays, students are being encouraged left and right to take on leadership opportunities in and outside of school and to be more independent overall. Undoubtedly, this is largely due to the fact that internships, jobs and academics in general are becoming much more congested and competitive. Nonetheless, this can all be intimidating and overwhelming to students. With so many other like-minded students in the same major, with the same amount of experience or more, where does one begin? It may sound like a major headache at first, but take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back and put on a confident—but not cocky—front. They say that your actions become a habit, so step one is to act confident and have some faith in yourself, and you’ll actually start to show it!

If anything, I’ve learned in time that competition when trying to gain leadership can be a good thing. It’s motivating to see others around you on the same level as you, if not a few steps ahead. It’s like a kick in the rear-end, if you will. Hey, you want that on your resume; you want to look good to that employer; you want to be on the board of that org—and you can do it, if you dig a little deeper to find your strong points and see where you uniquely stand out from the crowd.

Whether you are looking for a leadership role on a board of a student organization, an on-campus job or an internship, the person hiring essentially looks for the same strong traits in a potential leader: diligence to work and meet deadlines, confidence, sociability and communication skills, to name a few.

Commitment to getting your work done in a timely and efficient manner is crucial. Make sure to write everything down, even if it’s in your phone. Keep a planner and keep it organized—it will make a world of a difference when keeping track of everything your boss/club president/co-members look for you to accomplish! When you’re ahead of the game, it shows that you’re trustworthy and dedicated! Simple steps like improving on your organization will make handling a leadership position so much more manageable!

Being sociable and super communicative are also essentials. The minute you walk into an interview or join a student organization, let your outgoing personality take control and you’ll outshine everyone else. Show interest, interact with your fellow members and build relationships—these are the kinds of qualities that show leadership above all else, because they show off your ability to communicate and take charge.

All in all, everyone has their strengths that can be tweaked and improved to build what it takes to be a leader. Are your planner and folder color-coded down to the day, time and activity? Show off your organization skills, and you might make a good treasurer or secretary in a student org! Do you come from a creative background and are full of great ideas that may benefit your school or club? There’s a leadership quality right there! If you look deep enough, you’ll find something. Work on it, write out those applications, and go get ‘em.

By: Maria Evangelou

Minority Representation Within Leadership

What do Warren Buffet, Mike Krzyzewski, Michael Bloomberg, and Bono all have in common? They are all white male leaders in their respected industries. However, in today’s multicultural society, we are seeing more minorities emerging in leadership roles. Racial, ethnic, gender and religious minority groups have struggled for decades to be appropriately represented in leadership.

A recent Harvard Business Review study revealed that diversity is beneficial for businesses. However, leaders often time feel more comfortable working among people of similar backgrounds. Through recruiting, companies look to hire a more diverse group of people to help foster innovation and creativity.

However, how does that begin to explain that there are currently only five black and 21 women CEOs among the Fortune 500? While society can look to Ken Chenault, Michelle Obama and Tony Shieh as inspiration, what can companies do to further increase the amount of diversity within the workforce and their leadership?

Discuss diversity to encourage acceptance. Workplaces should encourage thoughtful and respectful conversation among employees to help identify the issues of diversity. Instead of avoiding often-ignored subjects, race and diversity should be further discussed and understood. Promoting understanding will help facilitate this acceptance.

Provide and participate in diversity trainings. Such trainings will offer minorities the opportunity to be more eligible for promotions and leadership roles. Diversity trainings will also offer the opportunity to learn about cultures and how to embrace them within the workforce.

Encourage mentorship. The chance to learn from a mentor who is of a similar background offers opportunities, confidence, and advice. Being able to relate to someone allows one to ask questions and explore their career development in a more comfortable setting without feeling underrepresented.

“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity.” -Robert Kennedy

By: Clarissa Ford

 

Becoming a Student Leader for the First Time in College: The Lessons I Have Gained

At some point during your college career, you might find yourself taking a course related to leadership. In a leadership course, you are typically introduced to various leadership styles, theories and strategies that teach students how to become effective leaders. With anything you learn in class, however, nothing beats applying classroom lessons to real-life experience.

Last year, I rose to the challenge of becoming a student leader for the first time in college. Before I became an e-board member for Temple PRSSA, I joined a non-profit organization called The DREAM Program, which is a mentoring organization for kids in low-income communities. As a new member, I quickly moved up into an e-board position within the same year I joined. As I reflect on my journey, I take note of the challenges and lessons I have gotten from experiences. Here are some of my most valuable takeaways:

Don’t be afraid to share your ideas

You join a new club filled new people you don’t know. Panic mode may set in for some, like it did for me. When it came time for DREAM meetings, I would often sit in the back of the room and stay quiet until it was over. The hardest part for me was overcoming that initial feeling of intimidation. I always believed my ideas were not important enough to be shared due to my lack of experience. I quickly learned, however, that even the strongest of leaders started somewhere. I made a personal goal for myself to say at least one idea each meeting to break the ice. Overtime, I began to talk and collaborate more with my fellow DREAM members. I learned my ideas mattered to the entire organization and helped us grow as a whole. All I needed was a little push or encouragement from myself and others around me. Now as the co-chair position for DREAM, I am happy to say I am the one conducting the general body meetings each week. A year ago I would have never imagined being in such an incredible leadership position. All I had to do was speak up and be heard.

Trial and Error….and more trial and error

My first chair position in DREAM was the fundraising head. In the past, I participated in countless fundraisers as a volunteer. As you can imagine, being on the other side of planning a fundraiser was certainly overwhelming, but I was up for the challenge. Being detail-oriented became crucial during the planning process. Despite how detail-oriented I was, however, sometimes events would not succeed as much as I planned. One of the hardest lessons that came out of unsuccessful fundraisers was overcoming the disappointment. In order to find success, you need to see what works and what doesn’t. This extends outside the realm of fundraising to all areas of leadership. Great leadership does not happen overnight, and in order to become a better leader you need to fail sometimes. Execute multiple initiatives and worry about the outcomes later.

Take initiative and be active

If being a strong leader is something you strive for, make that opportunity happen for yourself. Leadership can be a daunting task, especially if you are leading a large group of people. Being the co-chair for The DREAM Program this year has definitely presented me with some challenges so far. However, I enjoy every second of it. From my experience so far, I’ve learned that when leaders take initiative, it turns into a domino effect throughout all other members. Leaders are active in their organization and give members a guiding vision as to what goals they want to accomplish by the end of the year. It keeps your team of people going, and looking for better opportunities. Leadership does not mean being in a high position of power; it is about being effective and making the first move.

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Although learning about leadership style and theory can be helpful later on in your professional career, the only way to truly understand what it takes to be a leader is rising up to the challenges, both big and small. At the end of the day, leadership can have many different faces. Leadership does not mean being in a high position of power; it is about being effective and taking initiative for a common goal. So, go out and accept the challenge of leadership. Find opportunities to be a leader anywhere. You’ll surprise yourself along the way.

By: Marissa Piffer