The Importance of Ethical Leadership

 Ethical leadership is the foundation to successful leadership. There is no substitute for honesty and integrity inside and outside of the workplace. It is something that is extremely difficult to earn back. Once someone’s ethical persona has been Jeopardized that person may not ever be able to regain it, especially if that person continues to work among the same peers. Ethical leadership sets the tone for the culture of the organization.
In the article The Ethical Commitment to Compliance: Building Value-Based Cultures, it mentions that a study was done to ompare and contrast the effectiveness of a rules-and-punishment approach with a values-and-integrity approach to compliance. They found that programs had fewer reports of unethical conduct, higher levels of ethical awareness, more employees seeking advice about ethical issues, and a higher likelihood of employees reporting violations. These ethics are instilled from the leadership down to the employees. There is clear empirical evidence that a leader and culture built on ethics will benefit the organization through the integrity of its employees. The rticle goes on to say that leaders of an organization can greatly improve the overall quality and integrity of the organization by focusing on the executive leader’s policies and the actions of the supervisors to lead with procedural fairness.
This shows that ethical leadership can be proven by the equality of the processes that are implemented. The article concludes that the “role for the ethics and compliance officer [is] a values-based approach, in which organizations seek to motivate employees to develop and act on ethical values” and that it “is a more effective pproach to managing rule adherence. ” The value-based approached discussed in the article is instilled from the top down. It is important that the leadership of the organization establish this ethical standard.

Once the employees understand that ethics are the norm and values will be embraced, it is a lot easier for them to adhere to the ethical standards of the leadership. Any unethical behavior performed by leaders can potentially give peers an excuse to participate in unethical behavior themselves. In the article Who’s With Me? False Consensus and Ethical Decision Making, it states “people tend to see their choices and attitudes as being consistent with others’ choices and attitudes, which, in turn, leads them to interpret their actions and beliefs as ‘common and appropriate”.
Leaders set the example. If they waiver on their perceived ethical behavior, it could have repercussions with their peers who let unethical behavior become more commonplace. This is further illustrated in the article Rational Cheaters vs. Intrinsic Motivators when it states “there are conscience-driven employees whose empathy toward their employer overns whether theyll consider cheating”. An employee’s view of their leaders may potentially have a corresponding effect with how ethical they are in the workplace. Also you can read a rather interesting article about an Ethical Flaw.
In the article The Leader Machine by Geoff Colvin, it states “most companies have enunciated values that include respect for the individual, good citizenship and integrity. When company leaders also become leaders of charities, schools, and other nonprofits, they snow their commitment to those values, encouraging and inspiring employees. ” This example shows the importance of leadership choosing virtuous principles. Not only should leaders behave ethically, but it is also important to inspire their employees by participating in giving back to the community.
Robert Mueller, in the chapter The Networking Leader, wonderfully summarizes “Trust, mutuality, and ethics are essential. The high road to success lies in cultivating authentic, win-win relationships, inside the organization and out, while operating at the highest standards of ethics. ” Thus, the evidence continues to point out that ethical leadership is irreplaceable. It is vital to the health and success of any organization achieving for greatness.

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