Ethical leadership business essay

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Importantly, ethical leadership is never a finished process, but the framework should change with the organization and with time. As mentioned above, ethics change according to time and therefore, what the organization does now might not be considered ethical by its own standards within thirty years. Ethical philosophy is not a static framework people are born with. As the examples above have shown, ethical behavior can be determined in many ways. People develop internal ethical frameworks over time, with different experiences and life events influencing the ethical approach.

Furthermore, your life experiences can reinforce or reignite specific ethical ideas within you. Your ethical leader framework will be a constant examination of your own behaviors and qualities. Before you venture into reading about the characteristics, watch the interview of Apple CEO Tim Cook explaining how he developed his ethical compass:.

There are specific characteristics ethical leaders showcase. The traits you should focus on as an ethical leader include the following. Studies on ethical leadership has shown one of the most crucial traits of an ethical leader is being conscientious.

Ethical leaders take their positions seriously and they want to succeed in their role. Furthermore, they want to help empower others and ensure the organization and subordinates they serve are succeeding. The leader focuses on the diligence and dedication to get the job done. Conscientiousness also means the leader should showcase strong moral identity.

An ethical leader wants to define and think of him- or herself as a good person. There is a concern present for doing the right thing and perhaps more importantly, of thinking what the right action would be. Conscientiousness and moral identity are perhaps the traits innate in an ethical leader.

The willingness to consider ethics and to behave in a moral manner is something that stems from the inside and it can be hard to instill in a person. Nonetheless, as a leader, you want to start thinking about your actions more often and to consider the ethical implications of making choices. Ethical leaders are inclusive. This means that they are open to other opinions and encourage people to voice different ideas within the organization. But on top of this type of communicative and collaborative inclusiveness, ethical leaders also work with people from all sorts of backgrounds.

An ethical leader understands the benefits of a diverse work environment , and therefore, wants the organization to be more inclusive of people from different ethnicities, races, cultures and backgrounds. Inclusiveness requires understanding as well as acceptance of different people and of differing opinions. An ethical leader must therefore educate him- or herself in a variety of things, such as cultures and gender identity.

Accountability is another important characteristic of an ethical leader. The responsibility of ethical leadership must be treated with respect and in a serious manner. As mentioned before, by doing what you are saying, you can show true ethical leadership and therefore build trust among the subordinates. You must, as a leader, be responsible for the actions and decisions. The modern corporate world has shown examples of the importance of accountability at the highest level.

During the Enron scandal, the Chairman and CEO, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, argued against their accountability in the context of not knowing about the illegal accounting practices. The responsibility of being in charge and ensuring the ethical standards are upheld fall ultimately on the leaders and an ethical leader would take responsibility. Considerate behavior is important for an ethical leader in two separate senses. First, an ethical leader must consider all of his or her actions and find the ways to minimize harm. Indeed, Rushworth Kidder presents moral dilemmas in his book How Good People Make Tough Choices , not as a choice between right and wrong, but between two rights or two wrongs.

The second type of consideration requires the proper treatment of subordinates and other stakeholders.

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Rather, the saying implies that the worth of each subordinate should never be different in the eyes of the leader. All of the above traits are enhanced by consistency. As mentioned above, ethical leadership framework must be present at all times and an ethical leader must showcase consistency in his or her approach. An ethical leader can inspire the workforce by staying true to his or her own ethical standards. Consistency is also required in the way you treat subordinates and stakeholders.


You must outline the rules and the ethical framework and hold on to these standards when you deal with people. Ethical leaders must learn to be authoritative and to use his or her power. But there are important distinctions in how autocratic or authoritarian leaders use power and how ethical leaders control the subordinates.

Whereas in the more authoritarian models decision-making is in the hands of the leader, in ethical leadership there must be collaboration in the process. Importantly, there is a distinction in the use of power. In his book, Escape from Freedom , Erich Fromm distinguished two separate ideas of power. First, there is the power over , which allows leaders to use subordinates in order to achieve an end.

Power for an ethical leader is about the latter option. The focus is to achieve the ends, not to gain personal accomplishments or to prove you are better than others. In essence, ethical leaders use authority as a mean to empower others and sharing responsibilities and power is seen as a means to increase the chances of success. In addition to the above traits, ethical leaders also engage in specific actions as part of their leadership. Below are some of the things an ethical leader should focus on in order to improve his or her ethical behavior and build more trust with the subordinates.

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For the organization to work, positive relationships are required. German philosopher and theologian Martin Buber called these as I-Thou relationships. The distinction between the I-Thou relationships and the I-It relationships is explained on slide 8 of the following presentation. The ethical leader must embrace subordinates as valuable and important to the organization and its success. In order to create the I-Thou dialogue and relationship, the leader must treat subordinates with trust and respect.

This requires honesty in saying what needs to be said. Whilst ethical leader never wants to intentionally hurt anyone, the leader should not sugar-coat things either. As a leader, you must also place the interests of the organization before your own self-interest. Communication and collaboration are the cornerstones of ethical leadership.

An ethical leader must set up proper communication channels to allow feedback to fly in both directions. With proper communication comes less rumors, suspicion and ultimately resentment, as people can be more aware of what is happening around them. Creating an open culture and one that enforces explanations will help build more trust and respect among the theme. In order to have proper communication, you should improve your overall communication skills. This includes understanding the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication and to strive for clarity in expression.

In addition to communication, you want to pay attention to collaboration. Collaboration means asking for ideas and channeling power to other people.

Ethics, Sustainability, and CSR in Business Leadership Essay

If you allow people to take the lead and you trust their ability to make good choices, you will gain further respect. Leaders must be competent and knowledgeable, as this is the main reason they are trusted in the first place. Ethical leaders should be striving to increase their competence and to enhance their own skillset — just as they should expect the subordinates do. In part, this might require you to admit your shortcomings. You should forget about the notion that showing imperfections is a sign of weakness, and instead celebrate your ability to admit you need help.

Delegating is not a dirty word in ethical leadership. You should never accept responsibilities or tasks as a leader you are not competent in doing. Furthermore, you need to continuously educate yourself and discuss the industry and the leadership position with other leaders. You want to enhance your understanding of the organization and everything relating to the industry, but also improve your ability to be ethical and to lead other people. Rather you need to be constantly prepared to re-examine and re-evaluate your own behavior and the ethical framework you adhere to.

Consider your values and ethics regularly and allow yourself to be challenged. Ethical leadership has been closely scrutinized, perhaps because of its nature to focus on such grandiose concepts such as ethics. While it has a number of tangible advantages, the leadership theory is not always the best approach to solving organizational problems.

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Perhaps the biggest advantage of ethical leadership is how it leads to better rates of job satisfaction, which in turn improves employee commitment. In the study, Walumbwa and Schaubroeck found employees under ethical leadership to be less likely to leave the job and overall, the employees were more happy and helpful. Each individual is treated with respect and the work they do is appreciated. Furthermore, since ethical leaders lead by example, the helpful behavior is likely to spread across the organization.

Ethical leaders shape the organization and therefore, the organization will attract people whose own moral and ethical framework is similar to that of the leader and the organization. In fact, David Mayer et al found in a study published in that ethical leadership reduces unethical behavior in subordinates. Therefore, the leadership theory has a powerful impact across the whole society.

Ethical Leadership and Critical Decision Making

The strong ethical framework and leadership example can also help ensure employees report on problems quicker. Ethical leadership can also provide an additional collaborative benefit to an organization.

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Ethical companies also collaborate with other organizations that share the same ethical framework. The open approach to dealing with other organizations and being a trustworthy partner can boost innovation within the organization. Overall, the leadership model can reduce business liability and prevent costly errors within the organization.

Employees, who marked their CEOs higher for character qualities, saw the organization have an average return on assets of 9.

Ethical Leadership and Critical Decision Making Essay Example

This was almost five times the average return of the organizations with lower character ratings. Despite the positive elements ethical leadership can provide to an organization, it arguable can cause issues as well. The different ethical frameworks can cause tension within an organization and therefore, certain people might not find the environment pleasant or welcoming.

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