The Gallup organization just released its latest survey results about the perceptions of honesty and ethics for 22 professions.
The good news is that Congress actually saw its ratings increase over the past year – up from 7 percent to 10 percent who believe that members of the people’s house operate with a high degree of honesty and ethics.
The bad news is that Congress still ranks second from the bottom. It narrowly edges out perennial low performing car salesperson for the bottom spot. Advertising practioners rounded out the bottom three.
Does this mean that there are no good members of Congress, car salespeople, or advertising executives? Absolutely not.
My representative to Congress is, by everything I know, a perfectly honest and ethical man. I don’t always agree with him, but I trust that he is acting honorably. Linda Arnold has been my car salesperson for years at Sewell Lexus, and I absolutely trust her. The same can be said for Dick Mitchell, my best friend from high school and college and an executive for The Richards Group, a leading branding and advertising firm.
There are honest and ethical people in every profession. Rankings such as this reinforce a very important principle: Scandal paints with a roller not a brush. When enough people in any profession act dishonestly and unethically, it hurts everyone in the profession.
How about the top performers
Nurses, pharmacists, and medical doctors ranked one, two, and three in this survey of just over 1,000 adults age 18 and older. In fact, five of the top 10 professions in this survey are medical and health related. Two more, police and clergy were also service related.
Here’s what this means: The individuals in these fields provide core services that affect us at a very personal level. They are known for looking out for the needs of others even if it means putting themselves at some level of risk. Yes, the positions that ranked high would love to earn more money, but that is not why they typically enter their profession.
Here’s the news for you
All things being equal, we choose to do business with those that we know, like, and trust. Your reputation for honesty, ethics, and serving others can be the game changer that convinces others to do business with you.
If you work in a profession that ranks low in terms of public perception of honesty and ethics, you will have to overcome the general perceptions. But with a little extra effort, you can establish a reputation for being a trusted partner with those you serve.