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Moral Identity Of A Leader Essay

1015 words - 4 pages

The moral identity of a leader is paramount in creating a culture where ethical behaviour is held with the upmost regard, central to the organisations vision and is mirrored through the behaviour of employees. Moral identity must be present in a leader if he or she is to be regarded as an 'ethical example' or as a "transformative leader" as developed in Caldwell, et al., (2012). This 'transformative' model of management honours the moral obligation a leader has to its followers and all stakeholders thereby reiterating ethical leadership as a central part of top management in today's business environment. Trust between followers and leaders is required if a leadership style such as the transformative leader or any other leadership approach is to be effective. Leadership can be seen to be more about the followers than the leader themselves as it is ultimately the followers not the leaders that will determine the success of a leader. Rewarding ethical behaviour would generally have a greater bearing on maintaining and improving the ethical behaviour of subordinates in practice than merely punishing unethical behaviourAquino and Reed (2002) suggests that moral identity influences moral behaviour by acting as a self-regulatory mechanism embedded in people's internalized notions of wrong and right. A leader cannot be an ethical example if they themselves do not act on what is wrong and what is right because subordinates will inevitably pick up on the leader's lack of moral identity through their actions and decisions. Conversely a leader with a strong sense of moral identity is likely to behave in a highly ethical manner which in accordance with social learning theory will trickle down through employee rankings manipulating the culture of an organisation into one that values ethical behaviour and frowns upon unethical behaviour. Moreover when declaring the values and vision for a company a leader must be truthful to themselves first in order for followers not to get confused and to clearly understand these values and visions that are central to the success of a business.Transformative leadership is an ethically based leadership model that integrates a commitment to values and outcomes by optimizing the long-term interests of stakeholders and society and honouring the moral duties owed by organizations to their stakeholders (Caldwell, et al., 2012). The transformative leadership theory in some regards is similar to trait theories and behavioural theories in that it requires certain characteristics and behaviours of a leader. However it differs and perhaps advances itself from these theories because it exemplifies qualities such as ethics, commitment to stakeholders and value for shareholders that are required more than any other characteristic in the modern business environment. By definition, the very nature of a transformative leader is an ethically based style of leadership; this is important when considering to what degree leadership is more about...

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