Are Leaders Ethical?
Is being Ethical a mandatory requirement to be a Leader?
But… Ethical for whom?
- For your “enemy”?
- For yourself?
First, let’s define what Ethics mean.
According to the Oxford Dictionary:
- Ethics: “Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity“.
And what is Moral?
Again, according to Oxford:
- Moral: “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior“.
There you have it: It is impossible to have an objective answer.
Because… Who decides what is wrong or bad?
Sometimes, something is good for the Company and Bad for the Clients.
We say this because, in order to correctly address the question of Ethics in Leadership, we had to clarify that Ethics is something relative.
Think about Dictators:
- They are good Leaders (they know How to rule and, like it or not, they usually have lots of followers).
However… Are they Ethical?
What we can say for sure, is this:
- A good Leader believes in certain Moral Values and uses them as a guide.
Another thing is that he lives up to those Values.
- Or what are those Values.
But, whatever those values are, good Leaders tend to have a Strong Criteria on What is good, and What is Bad.
As we have said many times, Leaders seek the Good of their Team.
And, their Moral Values, their Ethics, guide what is Good.
Let’s see some examples so that you understand this better:
Examples of Ethical Leadership
A Leader that promotes his best Employees.
- Believes that Merit must be Rewarded: He acts according to his Beliefs.
- Mediocre employees will think it’s unfair because you should give everyone a chance.
A Leader that Punishes his Worst Employees.
- Believes that poor performance should not be overlooked.
- Some employees will think this is immoral because you should forgive them.
A Leader that Fraternizes with his employees.
- Believes that he/she is not “more or less” than his subordinates.
- Some employees will see that he has a better relationship with some than with others.
A Manager that doesn’t charge Clients too much.
- Believes that everybody should afford his Product.
- His employees may feel that they are not being paid enough for what they do.
As you can see, for each “Ethical Attitude” you can find someone who condemns it.
What is Important, more than what exactly your Values are, is this:
- To look for the Best for the Team you Manage.
- To act According to your Values.
- To Maintain your Values over Time.
And, if your Values are the right ones, you will become a great Leader.