Wednesday, June 20, 2007



Leaders know what they value. They also recognize the importance of ethical behavior. The best leaders exhibit both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. A leader’s leadership ethics and values should be visible because they live them in their actions.
A lack of trust is a problem in many workplaces. If leaders never identify their values in these workplaces, the mistrust is understandable. People don't know what they can expect. If leaders have identified and shared their values, living the values daily, visibly will create trust within the organization.
Ciulla (2004) suggested that we must have a rich and energetic lifestyle. Leaders must work within a balance and not be viewed as emotionally out of control. Ethical leadership starts at the top. If it is not right at the top, it is never going to be right at the bottom, or anywhere in between. Leaders may be born and not made, but ethics and ethical tenets of leadership training remain an undisputable necessity for every person assigned to positions requiring leadership and command responsibilities.
For example, the loss of trust and open heartedness complicates the President’s efforts to rebuild his standing with the public. His job approval rating remains at his all-time low. Honesty is a huge issue because even people who disagreed with his policies respected his integrity. Leaders must also motivate and inspire employees by showing that they care.

When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Weston (2001) stated that it takes an open mind to learn and grow. The truest and best leaders were those who lead from the heart and who followed their own values. Leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Jesse Jackson. Leaders like Andrew Carnegie and even Bill Gates. They had a vision and were unafraid to follow that vision in accordance with their own spiritual, moral, and personal beliefs, despite intense opposition, rejection, failure, and even personal hardship.
True leaders are one who maintain an uncompromising adherence to an internalized, but otherwise generally accepted code of moral values; who adheres to utter sincerity, honesty, and candor in all communication; and who avoids deception, expediency, artificiality, or shallowness of any kind in all situations. Ciulla (2004) states that morally sensitive leaders are the essential feature of any good organization.


Ciulla, J. B. (Ed.). (2004). Ethics: The heart of leadership. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Weston, A. (2001). A 21st century ethical toolbox. New York: Oxford University Press.


Darren said...

I agree with you. Leaders must communicate their values clearly and honestly. These values must be embodied in their vision for the organization. Too often leaders fail to communicate the values that are important to them. Subordinates are left to guess and wonder. This creates an atmosphere of gossip, rumours, mistrust, and misinterpretation. Leaders must not leave any doubt about the organization is about. Honest communication of values is the most important charateristic of a leader.

Frank Watkins said...

The heart and mind are very important in a leader’s ethical decision making process both personal and professional. As a leader I must strive to be ethical in all my decision making whether at work or within my family or social environment. Ethics do not take a break. Ethics is a way of figuring out what we should do when faced with a problem. It consists of those morals and values that we hold dearly, and speaks volumes of who we are, and what we expect from others. It also provides continuity in making decisions.

As a leader, I see value added in myself through virtue because it leads to strengthening of honesty, integrity, independence, productiveness, justice, and pride in individuals. These elements become essential in personal and professional growth in trusting my actions as a leader; the acceptance of responsibility for those actions; and judging others through standards that are based on rational reasons. Applying these to everyday life assist me acting in the same ethical manner regardless of the different situations I must face in my various roles.

Forgetting the thinking process that keeps us align with our values can cause us to become ineffective as a leader and lose the trust we seek to obtain from others personally and professional. Therefore, as I see it, being open-heartedness is a foundation to ethical leadership as it helps to establish a link to our actions in public as well as in private.


Leslie Watson Rivers said...

I agree with this post completely. If you are not helping others grow, you are not an effective leader. The president's current situation is a prime example of trust lost.