There is more to ethical leadership than meets the eye. It is not just about being aware of the right values nor having a character that can help an organization sail through the toughest of situations. Though these are key ethical leadership characteristics, they aren’t the only ones. Ethical leaders value ethics and morals and they have the will to succeed but what separates them from other leaders is how willing they are to prepare a framework to success that others can use to get out of difficult circumstances. Ethical leadership is about taking a team or an entire organization on board to achieve a set of objectives keeping values, vision, and purpose at the forefront.
Good leadership always encourages open conversations and activities that involve sharing knowledge and ideas whose benefits can be shared by all those who were part of the learning process. Ethical leaders also ensure that their team mirrors their standards and follows their way of living, inspiring, and influencing.
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Most leadership skills in general, are directed towards making leaders capable enough to do their best in every situation. These skills make them determined to overcome challenges and hurdles that other people wouldn’t dare to confront. The ultimate objective is to succeed. However, there is more to leadership than team management skills. Leaders have to put aside personal ambition and ensure that it doesn’t come in the way of achieving success as a team or company. This is where ethical leadership characteristics manifest themselves.
A leader puts individual success aside, in order to motivate a team to achieve shared goals. An ethical leader discovers qualities that need to be inculcated in teams to make them work towards a common goal and develop loyalty. These leaders make their team understand the benefits of working together and lead them to a path that puts team success over all individual successes.
One of the things that organizations ask of the leaders who they hire to lead and direct their teams is bringing value. How do ethical leaders do that? They set up channels for open communication to regularly discuss and explore the basics of value. They are accountable for bringing value to their role and responsible for understanding the different alternatives that they can turn to for doing so.
Ethical leaders can empower the people working under them, which can have a huge impact on business productivity and employee satisfaction. These leaders keep their doors open when it comes to listening to different views on what values mean to different individuals. This helps them in bridging the gap that exists between a company’s values and those that its employees hold dear.
Becoming an ethical leader is no mean feat, especially in this day and age. A leader should be willing to put their leadership competencies to the test before they can make a team understand this philosophy and drive it towards the achievement of a common goal.
“A New Model for Ethical Leadership” by Max H. Bazerman in the September–October 2020 Issue of Harvard Business Review
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