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Importance Of Ethical Behavior And Morality In Leaders

1683 words - 7 pages

The role of the government has evolved over time and in this day and age, its purpose is to govern the nation well by ensuring peace and prosperity in the country. The People’s Action Party (PAP) in Singapore encapsulates this in their manifesto which is “to build a fair and just society where the benefits of progress are spread widely to all”. It aims to achieve this through its core values system, honesty, being multi-racial, meritocracy and self-reliance.

This is no mean feat and requires the group of leaders to be reliable, pragmatic, united, far-sighted, decisive, compassionate and resilient. (PAP, 2013) As Confucius states, a person is to first, cultivate his moral character; only then would he be able to order his family well; upon being able to order one’s family, one is then fit to govern the nation. (Confucius, 1979) Therefore, leaders of the state will need to have good moral character and highest standards of personal conduct in order to govern the country well.

Michael Palmer, in this case study, has tainted the squeaky clean image of a Member of Parliament (MP). He had an extra-marital affair and came clean about it one year after it started. He confessed to DPM Teo Chee Hean and proceeded to resign from the service. He apologised to his superiors, colleagues and the public about his misconduct. He admitted that “his conduct was improper and a serious error of judgement”. (Tan J, 2012)

Despite being very successful in his political career, his misconduct was severely unacceptable. This is mainly due to the nature of his job. This mistake Palmer made showed that he lacked morality as, according to Aristotle, morality lies in a person’s character and a person’s character can be judged from his conduct. Aristotle points out that the continual working at attaining virtues through being able to reason well with oneself builds up character. Palmer in this case, has failed to think rationally which would have led him to follow the right course of actions to stay loyal to his wife. This demonstrated his flaw in character and thus, lack of moral goodness. Aristotle tells us that it is not wrong to seek pleasure but every action or feeling must be done in the right amount. Palmer tipped the balance and had a deficit of loyalty. This is particularly inadmissible because he was a politician and through the wrongdoing, he became a bad public figure. As a pillar of the society, he must be able to attain the golden mean.

In conclusion, Palmer’s mistake was made worst with his appointment as an MP. As a leader, expectations of him were higher. His misconduct reflected poorly of his character as it exhibited his inability to rationalise well. His lack of moral character led to the doubt that he would be able to order his family well and thus, he would not be able to govern the nation well. (Confucius, 1979)

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2) The selected case studies have several similarities and differences. All three individuals held important esteemed...

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