What is Ethical Leadership?
It seems like every week brings a new business challenge in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. From operating in a digitally-driven world to staying ahead of competitors, holding onto talented employees, and managing an organization’s financial performance are all becoming increasingly important.
That is why leaders today are being pushed to operate at the very highest level of effectiveness. In order to effectively lead people and organizations toward achieving their goals, leaders today need to operate at the highest possible level of moral responsibility.
What is Ethical Leadership?
It might be helpful to think of ethical leadership as “the right thing to do.” Ethical leaders are unafraid to admit when they are wrong, take responsibility for their actions, and, most importantly, recognize and build on their strengths. Ethical leaders are more concerned with the “how” of their decisions rather than the “why” of their decisions. They are not driven by a need to justify their actions but by a desire to do what is right.
How to Achieve Ethical Leadership
According to Raphael Avraham Sternberg, ethical leadership does not happen by accident. If you want to become an ethical leader, you will have to make an effort. Whether you are a new manager or an experienced leader, there are several things you can do to help you become a more ethical leader.
First, develop a deep understanding of important values to your organization and employees. Invest the time to explore your organization’s core values because it will help you better understand your employees and their values. Next, be willing to admit when you are wrong.
If you are willing to admit you are wrong and take responsibility for your actions, your employees will be more likely to take responsibility for theirs. Finally, be willing to build on your strengths. If you are willing to build on your strengths, your employees will be more likely to build on their strengths.
Examples of Ethical Leadership
As you build a more ethical leadership style, you will probably find some examples of ethical leadership inspiring. According to Raphael Avraham Sternberg, below are a few ethical leaders that you may find inspiring.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – As Dr. King expanded the civil rights movement to include economic justice, he was met with considerable opposition. He was repeatedly arrested for his civil rights activism and even threatened with death. Despite the considerable risks and harassment, Dr. King continued to work for justice and equality.
- Nelson Mandela – Like Dr. King, Nelson Mandela was frequently met with considerable opposition. He was kept imprisoned for nearly 20 years because of his activism. He had to overcome a series of difficult health issues while in prison. Despite being repeatedly met with great opposition, Mandela continued to work for justice and equality for all people.
- Joseph Stiglitz – Stiglitz is a highly respected economist who has won several awards for his writing on global financial issues. Additionally, he has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work in economics. Stiglitz is a highly accomplished economist and leader. However, the most impressive aspect of Stiglitz’s abilities may be that he has been willing to voice his opinions that may not be popular among most economists.
Ethical leaders are unafraid to admit when they are wrong, take responsibility for their actions, and, most importantly, recognize and build on their strengths. These leaders are more concerned with the “how” of their decisions rather than the “why” of their decisions. Ethical leaders are not driven by a need to justify their actions but by a desire to do what is right.