Definition of Ethical Leadership
Ethical leadership simply means the act of leading by knowing and doing what is right (Wise Geek, 2014). A leader that exhibit ethical leadership understands his or her core values, principles, and beliefs and live true to those values. An ethical leader serves as a mirror through which people view and perceive the organization they represent. Moral and ethical leaders serve as role models for others, who sets realistic, yet a high moral and ethical standards for others to follow and abide. This handbook will help managers to understand the importance and the principle of the moral and ethical leadership, the path to a better ethical decision making, and ways to create a moral and ethical organizational culture.
The Importance of Moral and Ethical Leadership
Moral and ethical leaders are essential for any successful business because these leaders are the essential links between the organization’s objectives and its stakeholders. Leaders are the face of any organization, and their actions reflect the values and the ethics the organization they represent. Therefore, if a leader’s action and decision is ethical, the stakeholders and other organizations will respect the leader and the organization. Recent history has shown that ethical behaviors are important in sustaining businesses; large corporations such as Enron, Chevron, and Worldcom, destroyed people’s lives through unethical business behaviors (Josephson, M., 2013). If these corporations and its executives have operated morally and ethically, they would have been able to avoid bankruptcy and escaped going to prison (The Economist, 2002). Having ethical leadership in organizations will help to eliminate the negative impact executive’s greediness can have on the organization. Since leaders are involved in hiring and retention of employees, an ethical leader will ensure to hire and retain skilled people with high level of integrity who can become a future ethical leader. It will also encourage the workers to have high ethical standards. A solid reputation of ethics and integrity will improve the company’s business operation, for people typically feel safe doing business with a company that has a high reputation of honesty.
The Principles of Moral and Ethical Leadership
For a manager or a leader to act morally and ethically, it is important to adhere to the following five principles
Honesty: Ethical leaders must be trustworthy, open, and honest in their actions and decisions. Leaders should not deliberately deceived or mislead others either by falsification or omission of relevant information. When a trust issue occurs, an ethical leader must relate all relevant information truthfully and honestly. There are situations, when telling a complete truth could be destructive, nevertheless, an ethical leader must still abide by the truth to preserve the integrity of the company. A leader must not promise what they cannot deliver, regardless of the gain.