Ethical Leadership

ETHICS IN LEADERSHIP ASHISH 3/18/2013 What is Ethical Leadership? Ethics refer to the desirable and appropriate values and morals according to an individual or the society at large. Ethics deal with the purity of individuals and their intentions. Ethics serve as guidelines for analyzing “what is good or bad” in a specific scenario. Leader is person who influences the thoughts and behaviours of others. A leader is one who establishes the direction for others to willingly follow. One person can serve as a leader or several persons might share leadership.
So the art or technique to do so is Leadership. Hence Leadership is about raising the aspirations of followers and enthusing people with a desire to complete the common goals. Robert Kennedy summed up leadership best when he said, “Others see things as they are and wonder why; I see them as they are not and say why not? ” Therefore correlating ethics with leadership, we find that ethics is all about the leader’s identity and the leader’s role. Some of the examples of ethical leaders are Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi etc.
Ethical leader embraces the act of service as described by Robert Greenleaf (3) in his concept of “servant leadership. ” The effective leader acts as a servant to others engaged in the enterprise, not in any sense of inferiority, but as one who empowers others to achieve success by focusing on right action. Traits/ Characteristics of Ethical Leader ? Dignity and respectfulness: He respects others. An ethical leader should not use his followers as a medium to achieve his personal goals. He should respect their feelings, decision and values.

Respecting the followers implies listening effectively to them, being compassionate to them, as well as being liberal in hearing opposing viewpoints. In short, it implies treating the followers in a manner that authenticate their values and beliefs. ? Serving others: He serves others. An ethical leader should place his follower’s interests ahead of his interests. He should be humane. He must act in a manner that is always fruitful for his followers. ? Justice: He is fair and just. An ethical leader must treat all his followers equally. There should be no personal ias. Wherever some followers are treated differently, Ground for differential treatment should be fair, clear, and built on morality. ? Community building: He develops community. An ethical leader considers his own purpose as well as his followers’ purpose, while making efforts to achieve the goals suitable to both of them. He is considerate to the community interests. He does not overlook the followers’ intentions. He works harder for the community goals. ? Honesty: He is loyal and honest. Honesty is essential to be an ethical and effective leader.
Honest leaders can be always relied upon and depended upon. They always earn respect of their followers. An honest leader presents the fact and circumstances truly and completely, no matter how critical and harmful the fact may be. He does not misrepresent any fact. Ethical Leadership Theories Ethical leadership theories fall into two categories ? Leader’s conduct (The actions and behaviour of leaders) Consequences (Theological theories) – Focus on what is right and what is wrong. A. Ethical Egoism – An individual should act to create the greatest good for themselves.
The leaders should take a career that they would selfishly enjoy. This is closely related to transactional leadership theories. For example, a middle-level manager who wants their team to be the best in the company is acting out of ethical egoism. B. Utilitarianism – We should act to create the greatest good for the greatest number. Maximize the social benefits while minimizing the social costs. Example: when the US government allocates a large portion of the federal budget to the health care instead of catastrophic illness, it is acting out of the utilitarian ethics. C.
Altruism – This is the opposite of Ethical Egoism and is concerned with showing the best interest for others even when it runs contrary to self-interest. Authentic transformational leadership is based on altruistic behaviour. i. ii. Duty (Deontological Theories) A. This is telling the truth, keeping promises, being fair, independent of the consequences. B. Actions should not infringe on others’ rights and should not further the moral rights of others. ? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Leader’s character (the personality and character of leaders) Virtue-based theories These are not innate, but can be acquired.
They are rooted in heart of the individual and in their disposition. It focuses on telling people “what to be” as opposed of “what to do” Examples include courage, temperance, generosity, self-control, sociability, modesty, fairness, and justice. This theory is about being and becoming a worthy human being. honesty, The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership is a framework that aligns the internal (beliefs and values) with the external (behaviours and actions) for the purpose of advancing the common good. The model was created by Center founder Dr.
Bill Grace based on his formal leadership research and personal passions around faith and ethics. Figure 1: 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership ? ? ? ? Values. Ethical leadership begins with an understanding of and commitment to our individual core values. By first discovering the values at the core of our identities, we begin the process of integrating our unique values with our choice-making on all levels of our personal and civic lives. Vision. Vision is the ability to frame our actions – particularly in service to others – within a real picture of what ought to be.
Voice. Claiming our voice is the process of articulating our vision to others in an authentic and convincing way that animates and motivates them to action. Virtue. Understanding that we become what we practice, we foster virtue by practicing virtuous behaviour – striving to do what is right and good. In this way, we develop the character of virtue. In particular, virtue stands for the common good. Ethical leaders ask, “How are my values, vision and voice in keeping with the common good? ” Principals of Ethical Leadership Peter G.
Northouse has listed five principles of ethical leadership (4). Actually the origins of these can be traced back to Aristotle. These principles provide a foundation for the development of sound ethical leadership: respect, serves, justice, honesty and community. Figure 2: Five Different Principals of Ethical Leadership (4) 1) Ethical leaders respect others Immanuel Kant argues that it is our duty to treat others with respect. One should treat others as ends in itself and never as means to an end.
Beauchamp and Bowie (1988) pointed out that “Persons must be treated as having their autonomously established goals and must never be treated purely as the means to another person’s goals. ” Leaders who respect also allow others to be themselves. They approach others with a sense of unconditional worth and value individual differences (Kitchener, 1984). Respect means giving credence to others’ ideas and confirming them as human beings. A leader should nurture followers in becoming aware of their own needs, values, and purposes.
Respect means that a leader listens closely to their subordinates, is empathetic, and tolerant to opposing views. When a leader exhibits respect, subordinates feel competent about their work. 2) Ethical leaders serve others Serve others is based on the concern for others (Ethical egoism) and also an example of altruism. Example of this can be observed in mentoring, empowerment, behaviours, and team building. Serving others is a similar concept to the “Beneficence” that is taught to health professionals. Senge contended that one of the important tasks of leaders in earning organizations is to be a steward (servant) of the vision within the organization and highlights the importance of not being self-centered, but integrating one’s self or vision with the vision of the organization. 3) Ethical leaders are Just Justice demands that leaders place the issue of just at the center of their decision making. No one should be treated differently unless their particular situation demands it and if that is the case, then the rules for differential treatment should be made clear. Good leaders are those who never have favourites and will treat all the employees equally.
The golden rule (Rawls, 1971) is to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (5). The principles of distributive justice includes: ? To each person, and equal share. ? According to individual needs. ? According to that person’s rights. ? According to individual efforts. ? According to societal contribution. ? According to merit. 4) Ethical leaders are honest Being honest is not just about telling the truth. It has to do with being open with others, representing reality as fully and a completely as possible. There are times of course where telling the complete truth can be destructive and counterproductive.
The challenge is to strike a balance. It is important for leaders to be authentic, but sensitive to the attitudes and feelings of others. Dalla Costa (1998) made a point in the Ethical Imperative book (6). “Do not promise what you can’t deliver, do not misrepresent, do not hide behind spin-doctored evasions, do not suppress obligations, do not evade accountability, do not accept the ‘survival of the fittest’ pressures” 5) Ethical leaders build community Leadership is often defined as the “process of influencing others to reach a common or communal goal. This definition has a clear ethical dimension. The common goal implies that leaders and followers agree on the directions of the group. Ethical leadership demands attention to civic virtue (Rost, 1991). This means that both leaders and followers need to attend to community goals and not just their mutually determined goals. Ethical Leadership in an Organization Following are the key elements of ethical leadership in organizations and these must be served in the organization to develop the ethical culture which leads to the nourishment of organization as well as of employees.
Modelling Ethics If you want your workers to behave ethically, you must behave in that manner. Serve as a model of ethics for your workers by telling them that you expect them to behave in an ethical manner and doing so yourself. For example, if the opportunity to gain advantage over a competitor presents itself, but this advantage would have to be obtained in an unethical manner, decline the opportunity and stick to your principles. Giving Employees Voice Ethical organizations value all employees.
Show your workers that they are more than just numbers but instead valuable parts of your business by empowering them and giving them a voice in your decision-making process. Establish a comment box and create an open-door policy in which you encourage all workers to come to you with issues of concern. Considering Impact of Decisions While it can be difficult to see past the bottom line when making decisions that relate to your business, doing so is necessary if you are seeking to establish a workplace rich in ethics.
Before making any decision, consider the impact that that decision could have on your employees and customers and allow the degree of this impact to inform your decisionmaking process. Promoting Community Involvement While your business has no requirement to be involved in the community, doing so is an ethical choice. Donate goods to area charitable organizations, and encourage employees to volunteer their time. Offer an incentive to employees who volunteer, such as allowing them to do so while technically on the clock or making it a point to publicly recognize employees who are giving of their time.
Responsible Sourcing When seeking goods necessary to make your product or complete the services you perform, source them responsibly. Consider where each of these products comes from, and do business only with other companies that, like you, have ethical principles in play within the workplace. For example, if you discover that one of the providers of the products you use regularly is not providing its employees with safe working conditions, seek another vendor to separate yourself from this fellow business owner who is not behaving ethically.
The Importance of Ethical Leadership One of the survey conduct by the Corporate Executive Board released data showing companies with strong ethical cultures, open communication and managers who model corporate values, delivered shareholder returns that averaged 5 percent higher than peers; improved worker productivity of more than 12 percent. And such companies were 67 percent less likely to observe instances of business misconduct than those at companies with low integrity cultures. So from this example we can say that how crucial is the ethical leadership in various rganizations. The following are the some more reasons why ethical leadership is very much important in organizations. 1. Ethical leadership models ethical behaviour to the organization and the community. Leaders are role models. If you want your organization or initiative – and those who work in it – to behave ethically, then it’s up to you to model ethical behaviour. A leader – and an organization – that has a reputation for ethical behaviour can provide a model for other organizations and the community, as well. 2. Ethical leadership builds trust.
Leadership – except leadership gained and maintained through the use of force and intimidation – is based on trust. People will follow an ethical leader because they know they can trust him to do the right thing as he sees it. 3. Ethical leadership brings credibility and respect, both for you and the organization. If you’ve established yourself as an ethical leader, individuals and groups within and outside the organization, will respect you and your organization for your integrity. 4. Ethical leadership can lead to collaboration.
Other organizations will be much more willing to collaborate with you if they know that you’ll always deal with them ethically. 5. Ethical leadership creates a good climate within the organization. If everyone in the organization knows that power will be shared and not abused, that they’ll be dealt with respectfully and straightforwardly, that they’ll have the power to do their jobs, and that the organization as a whole will operate ethically in the community, they’re likely to feel more secure, to work well together, and to be dedicated to the organization and its work. . If you have opposition, or are strongly supporting a position, ethical leadership allows you to occupy the moral high ground. This is especially important if your opposition is ethical as well. You can look very small in comparison if your ethical standards are not up to theirs, discrediting your cause and alienating your allies. 7. Ethical leadership is simply the right way to go. Everyone has an obligation to themselves, to their organization, to the community, and to society to develop a coherent ethical system that seeks to make the world a better place.
Leaders, for the reasons already stated, and because of the responsibilities of leadership, have a particular obligation in this respect. 8. Ethical leadership affords self-respect. Because you know that you consistently consider the ethics of your decisions, actions, and interactions, you can sleep at night and face yourself in the morning without questioning your own integrity. How to become ethical leader? The following are examples of values.
You might use these as the starting point for discussing values within your organization: ambition, competency, individuality, equality, integrity, service, responsibility, accuracy, respect, dedication, diversity, improvement, enjoyment/fun, loyalty, credibility, honesty, innovativeness, teamwork, excellence, accountability, empowerment, quality, efficiency, dignity, collaboration, stewardship, empathy, accomplishment, courage, wisdom, independence, security, challenge, influence, learning, compassion, friendliness, discipline/order, generosity, persistency, optimism, dependability, flexibility As a leader, choose the values and the ethics that are most important to you, the values and ethics you believe in and that define your character. Then live them visibly every day at work.
Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you lead and influence others. Don’t waste your best opportunity. Psychologist James Rest identified four psychological components which are very important for becoming an Ethical Leader and to be morally mature: moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral character. So to become an ethical leader, person must have the traits and principals which are explained above. Conclusion Leadership is a privilege and a responsibility that demands a good deal from those who have it, whether formally or informally. High on that list of demands is the need to be ethical, both in personal life and in leadership.
Because leaders are role models whether they choose to be or not, they set the tone for the ethical stance of their individual followers, of the organization or group they lead, and, to some extent, of the larger community. Ethical leadership requires from the leader a coherent ethical framework that will guide her decisions and actions all the time, not only in specific situations. Among the most important of the characteristics that define an ethical leader are openness and honesty; the willingness to make the discussion of ethical issues and decisions a regular part of the organizational or group conversation and culture; the urge to mentor others o lead; the drive to maintain and increase competence; the capacity to accept and seriously consider feedback, both positive and negative; the ability to put aside personal interest and ego in the interest of the cause or organization; the appropriate use of power, which is never abused or turned toward the leader’s own ends. “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world. ” By Albert Camus References 1. Michel Dion, (2012) “Are ethical theories relevant for ethical leadership? ” Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 33 Iss: 1, pp. 4 – 24. 2. By Karinlynn, Sep 2008, “Deontological vs. Teleological Ethical Systems”. 3. Robert Greenleaf, “The Servant as Leader (Minnesota: The Robert K. Greenleaf Center, 1970)”. 4. Peter G. Northouse Nov 2008, “Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice”. 5. John Rawls, (1971) “A Theory of Justice” Harvard University Press. 6.
John Dalla Costa 1998 “The Ethical Imperative: Why Moral Leadership Is Good Business”. 7. Bill Grace, (1990) “The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership”. 8. Chris Raymond, (2011) “Ethical Leadership in a Global Marketplace”. 9. B. M. Bass & Steidlmeier, (1999) “Ethics, character and authentic transformational leadership behaviour”. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181-217. 10. K. S. Kitchener, (1984) “Intuition, critical evaluation and ethical principles: The foundation for ethical decisions in counselling psychology”. Counselling Psychologist, 12(3), 43-55. 11. P. Senge, (1990). “The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization”. New York: Doubleday.

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