Ethical Leadership Essay
Stories of corrupt and incompetent leaders are increasingly becoming rampant and an obvious tale. Some leaders involve themselves in the most bizarre ethical breaches which tend to shutter an organization’s reputation. These leaders are becoming a true testament of the old adage, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Human beings naturally crave control and while most of us are not gifted in leading, everyone tends to think they have what it takes to lead. However, what most fail to realize is that being a leader is not the same as being or gaining a promotion. A leader is defined by the influence one holds over his colleagues, and at times his superiors. Power attracts many and often ends up destroying lives, careers, entire organizations, and even countries.
However, one can choose to rise above the greed that is often exhibited as people are struggling for power and integrate ethics with their leadership. Being an ethical leader is not an easy task and often involves a conscious decision to shun backdoors and other shortcuts that are embraced by many. One has to be different and embrace the common principles of trust, respect, fairness, integrity etc.
These principles form the foundation of ethical leadership but as stated earlier it takes time to synthesize these into effective actions. This essay will, therefore, focus on how one can synthesize the above values and be regarded as an ethical leader.
First of all, one has to strive to set and be an example to his subordinates. It is often said that actions speak louder than words and this statement applies more to leaders than anyone else. Human beings are judgmental but they tend to judge someone based on what they do and not what they say. As a leader, one should be aware that their actions speak more than their words. This means that in order to create an honest culture, one must first be honest.
A leader must practice and demonstrate what they feel is best for the organization. If one conducts themselves unselfishly, is honest, respectful and leads in fairness, employees will as well be moved to live up to the standards that are set. By acting ethically, one would have changed an organization’s culture and their leadership would qualify to be regarded as ethical.
Secondly, ethical leadership entails a lot of communication with one’s subordinates as well as other colleagues. An ethical leader will always try to create an environment that makes communication, whether horizontal or vertical or diagonal, possible. Employees will always feel respected if their voice is heard and their opinions are taken seriously.
No one should be punished for speaking their voice or airing their grievances. Ethical leadership embraces open communication where employees feel free to air their views. Building a relationship with one’s subordinates is key to the success of an organization. However, it is essential to understand that successful relationships are built on trust, openness, fairness, integrity, respect, and compassion. Without the above values involved, employer-employee relationships would be hard and employees will not be at ease to communicate their thoughts regardless of how bad the situation might be.
In conclusion, ethical leadership involves caring, respecting, and treating one’s employees or subjects fairly. It does not chest-thumping or the use of force. The truth is, ethical leadership achieves greater success than an authoritative leadership. Ethical leaders will always get the best out of a team but as already stated, it takes time and patience to become one.