5 Really Important Things Ethical Leaders Have in Common
May 10, 2016
events have put the topic of ethical leadership in the spotlight recently, and the
concept is one that all successful business leaders are familiar with.
ethical leadership can require you to make difficult decisions, but the
benefits of running an ethically sound organization include earning the trust
of stakeholders and the business of consumers. Organizations guided by ethics
appear more trustworthy and strong, and many of those who lead these
organizations have the following characteristics in common.
1. Ethical leaders have the respect
of their employees.
leader who operates under a strong code of ethics earns the respect of his or
her employees. Some leaders do this by demonstrating a strong work ethic,
accomplishing tasks alongside workers to show that no job is too small when it
comes to meeting business goals. Other leaders do so through open-mindedness,
diplomatically listening to the input of staff members and displaying a
willingness to accept new ideas. Still others earn respect by openly communicating
with workers so that expectations are clear
a variety of ways, ethical leaders earn respect because they consistently
recognize the importance of showing respect for their employees. Employees who
feel respected are likely to be more committed to a company, more productive,
and more likely to stay in a job longer. Additionally, leaders who establish
business practices that foster a culture of respect are often able to recruit the
most talented workers.
2. Ethical leaders are honest.
ethical leader strives for honesty and transparency in interactions with his or
her staff, as well as in dealings with other companies. A leader who cultivates
an ethical business does not make promises that he or she has no intention of
keeping, and operates with a high level of transparency.
an honest business leader often means stating unpopular facts or making
decisions to do things the difficult way because it is the right way, rather
than simply electing to do something the wrong way because it is easier. In
return for this honesty, leaders often receive trust and loyalty from both
staff members and potential business partners. Honesty also increases the
likelihood that other ethical businesses will want to do business with your
3. Ethical leaders make ethics a part
of business culture.
executives make the mistake of believing that holding a workshop or
distributing a handbook to employees is an effective way to be an ethical
leader. However, the truth is that the only way to be a leader whose company
reflects his or her values is to integrate the concept into the business’
ethics into a business culture doesn’t necessarily have a direct impact on the
day-to-day operations of a company, but good leaders use it to guide
decision-making when the opportunity presents itself. The most important aspect
of building ethics into a business culture is that the leader models the
ethical behaviors that he or she expects other staff to exhibit. Leading by
example is the most direct way to establish principled practices within your
a staff member conducts him or herself in a way that violates a company’s
ethical standards, an ethical leader does not turn a blind eye on the
situation. Breaches of conduct do not necessarily need to result in
termination, but all employees should understand that acting contrary to the company’s
code of ethics will have consequences.
ethical leader treats his or her employees with fairness, and associates who go
against your business’ ethics policies should be dealt with accordingly.
Leaders who opt to ignore these situations are sending mixed messages; they’re inadvertently
telling their staff that the behavior is acceptable, despite guidelines to the
5. Ethical leaders recognize that the
practice is complex.
it’s not clear how a business or executive should act with integrity. Ethical
leaders recognize that grey areas are an inevitable part of life, and they
should create a precedent for handling ambiguous situations.
ethical leader looks at an equivocal dilemma, makes an initial decision, and
then asks the right questions. For example, is the leader comfortable with
revealing his or her decision to employees or partners? Who will be negatively
impacted by this decision? Will this decision be seen as fair by those most
affected by it?
right choice is not always the easiest one to make in a professional setting,
but a leader who has an established protocol for ethical conduct, as well as confidence
in their ability to remain dedicated to that protocol, will keep their business
on the right track.