Ethical leadership is to know your core values and having the courage to live them in all parts of your life in service of the common good. It is a set of principles for effective leadership based on timeless wisdom. When practiced regularly, they enable the leader to establish and build trust and loyalty. We know that leadership in general is about many things – such as, vision, principle and integrity. It is ultimately about ethically motivating others in ethical directions.
Obviously, this is a complex matter and we will return many times in the workplace. It is a system of thought based on setting rules for what to do, not on what not to do.
Ethical leadership constitutes of four V’s: mainly Values, Vision, Voice and Virtue.
Values: This begins with an understanding of and commitment to our individual core values. By first discovering the values at the core of our identities, we begin the process of integrating our unique values with our choice-making on all levels of our personal and civic lives.
Vision: Vision is the ability to frame our actions – particularly in service to others – within a real picture of what ought to be
Voice: Claiming our voice is the process of articulating our vision to others in an authentic and convincing way that animates and motivates them to action.
Virtue: Understanding that we become what we practice, we foster virtue by practicing virtuous behavior – striving to do what is right and good. In this way, we develop the character of virtue. In particular, virtue stands for the common good. Ethical leaders ask, “How are my values, vision and voice in keeping with the common good?”
Ethical Leadership is based on the truth of 4 timeless principles:
- You must be ethical to lead ethically.
- You must be trustworthy to build trust.
- You must define a path for others to follow.
- You must believe ethics is profitable.
To be an effective leader you must have a desire to do the right thing for the company, the customer and the people. It starts with you and you must model the behavior you wish others to demonstrate.
You must be trustworthy to build trust. Ethical leadership requires you to have strong relationships with the people who follow you. To achieve this you must establish and sustain high levels of mutual trust. To earn their trust you must not only trust them, but also be the kind of person who deserves their trust in the first place.
You must believe having good values is profitable. People incorrectly believe that if you do the right thing, opportunities, sales and profits will suffer.
Therefore, ethics is the outward display of values. Although it is a common practice in today’s cut throat market, most long term businesses recognize that focusing only on the bottom line is not a path to lasting success.