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Leadership Ethics Understanding the Character and Values of a Leader By: Kevin Grant Regent University
Leadership Ethics The purpose of this presentation is to understand what Leaders do and who Leaders are by looking at the “ethical behavior” of the leader.
Leadership Ethics The presentation discussion will “map” ethical leadership under the following six headings: 1. Defining ethics 2. Ethical Theories 3. Becoming who we are: The ethical leader 4. Moral Leadership: The role of the leader 5. Benefiting from ethical leadership: the leader follower relationship 6. Developing a model for ethical leadership: enhancing ethical leadership
Leadership Ethics Introduction “The study of ethics has to do with developing standards for judging the conduct of one party whose behavior affects another” (Gini, 1998, p. 31) The key principle is: ethics is a communal, a collective enterprise not a solitary one (Gini, 1998).
Leadership Ethics Gini (1998) has pointed out that ethics is about relationships with others. Question: Does the leader’s ethical behavior have a direct influence on the ethical behavior of others?
Leadership Ethics A survey was taken that provides answers to ethical behavior of leaders (Gini, 1998). 1. New York Times poll in 1985 revealed 55% of the public believe corporate executives are dishonest 2. In 1987 The Wall Street Journal noted one-fourth of those surveyed that ethics impedes a career and one-half of the executives bent the rules to get ahead. 3. In 1990 Prentice Hall survey revealed 68% of the public believed unethical behavior of executives is the reason for decline in business standards, productivity, and success.
Leadership Ethics In summary: ethics has to do with development of or judging the conduct of an individual. Throughout this presentation “good behavior” intends no harm and respects the rights of others, while “bad behavior” is abusing the rights and interests of others.
Leadership Ethics I. Defining Ethics The word ethics comes from the Greek word “ethos,” which means: a) Customs b) Conduct c) Character Northhouse (2004).
Leadership Ethics Ethics is concerned with an individual’s motives . Ethical theory is a system of rules or principles that guide our decisions of what is “right or wrong” and “good and bad” Northhouse (2004).
Leadership Ethics Question: Was Adolph Hitler a leader? Many would answer NO-however he was a leader! The question forces us to think about: was he a good leader?
Leadership Ethics The answer would probably be NO-based on our definition of ethics so far. We might choose leaders who were good such as Ghandi, Lincoln, Churchill, and Martin Luther King.
Leadership Ethics II. Ethical Theories Northhouse (2004) has categorized ethical theories into two broad domains: 1) Conduct 2) Character
Conduct Teleological Theory (outcomes of individual behavior) Ethical egoism (greatest good for self) Utilitarianism (greatest good for the greatest number) Deontological Theories “Duty” (moral obligation to the right thing) Character Virtue-based Theories Honesty courage self-control fairness justice Leadership Ethics
Concern for Self Egoism High Utilitarianism Medium Altruism Low Concern for Others Egoism Low Utilitarianism Medium to High Altruism High Leadership Ethics
Leadership Ethics III. Becoming Who We Are Question: When you go to work everyday, do you leave your values and beliefs at home or do you take them with you?
Leadership Ethics Your heart has its reasons that reason does not know (Pascal, quoted by Badaracco, 1997, p. 72). Badaracco (1997) states it isn’t how you feel, it is about what your feelings are saying.
Leadership Ethics When faced with an ethical decision one has a definite sense of which values, commitments, and responsibilities are in conflict (Badaracco, 1997). To find out what these are we have to trace our past to get to the “root” of one’s own values.
Leadership Ethics Getting to the “root” means looking at the four factors which shape us and make us who we are: 1. Childhood (those who influenced me) 2. Education (those who taught me) 3. Experience (situations which forced me to decide) 4. Religion (establishing values and beliefs)
Leadership Ethics IV. Moral Leadership: The Role of the Leader Question: How do leaders model ethical behavior? Gini (1998) uses the model “witness of another” to explain how moral leaders model, pattern, or mentor others. 1) We learn to conduct ourselves based on the actions of significant others. 2) When there is positive peer group response to this behavior we begin to emulate these actions 3) When the behavior is reinforced by others this behavior is acquired
Leadership Ethics Leadership is viewed as a communal relationship between the leader and the follower. Gini (1998) views leadership as a power and value laden relationship between the leader and the follower-the intention is make “real change”.
Leadership Ethics Lets describe this relationship in more depth. A) The leader’s agenda should be not be self-serving b) Leaders should view followers as having similar rights and aspirations
Leadership Ethics Question: how do we judge the ethics of a leader? The leader is judged by their intentions, values, believes in, or stands for-we can use the word character to describe this
Leadership Ethics According to Fisher and Martini (2004) character relationship to ethics is based on how we behave in situations that confront us daily. “Ethics is linked to one’s moral value” (Fisher & Martini, 2004).
Leadership Ethics The use of character in ethics is simply “motivation to do what is right, or who you are when no one is watching” (Fisher & Martini, 2004). Personal character influences behavior and this behavior is linked backed to our past or worldview.
Leadership Ethics V. Benefiting From Ethical Leadership Northouse (2004) presents five ways in which ethical leaders can benefit others. 1) Respect: The leader respects the individual by treating them as worthy human beings. From an ethical standpoint the leader confirms the person’s beliefs, attitudes, and values.
Leadership Ethics 2) Serve others: the leader is “follower centered”. Placing other’s interests ahead of themselves
Leadership Ethics 3) Fair and Just: Make it a top priority to treat all subordinates equally. No one should receive special treatment.
Leadership Ethics 4) Honest: Leaders tell the truth-they are always honest with others. Dishonesty brings about misrepresentation of reality and people lose faith in the leader.
Leadership Ethics 5) Build community: Influences others to reach a common or communal goal.
Leadership Ethics Question: can we build a model for ethical leadership? The answer is yes-and it is built with a “spiritual dimension”
Leadership Ethics We must view ethical leadership using a “spiritual dimension.” As Fisher and Martini (2004) point out it’s not a religious viewpoint, it’s the things that culture value such as honor, courage,truth, respect, goodness, and commitment.
Leadership Ethics If we take this approach to ethical leadership we become shining lights of influence in our culture where character influences others.
Leadership Ethics VI. Developing a Model for Ethical Leadership To be more effective as moral leaders a model using a spiritual dimension can be considered for leaders to be these shining lights in their environments. Fisher and Martini (2004) argue cultures throughout history have adapted a concept of a supreme being. It’s a common bond we all share. This higher being provides guidelines for leaders who adapt the thinking “doing the right thing.”
Leadership Ethics Model for Ethical Behavior: Enhancing Ethical Leadership “Deep Roots” Take a Stand Power of Forgiveness Spiritual Dimension Childhood Defining Moments Experience Education Make a Difference The Golden Rule Religion
Leadership Ethics The model begins with the leader realizing where their “deep roots” come from. These values are based on the past and carry through our lives.
Leadership Ethics As leaders progress through life they face challenges which demand a design-known as defining moments. A defining moment shapes and makes us who we are. The decisions we make are based on values that we carry from the past.
Leadership Ethics Since ethics is about communal relationships the spiritual side of leadership evolves because we work with people which is commonly known as the “soft stuff.”
Leadership Ethics The spiritual dimension of ethical leadership is made up of four components: 1) The golden rule: do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. As leaders we have an impact on others
Leadership Ethics 2) Make a difference: one person can make a difference in their organizations and with others.
Leadership Ethics 3) Power of forgiveness: forgiveness is something we do ourselves. Forgiveness liberates and a keeps us from carrying the guilt of the past.
Leadership Ethics 4) Take a stand: you either live by your values or you abandon them. As leaders we must stand for what we believe.
Leadership Ethics How will we measure successful leadership? The answer lies in how we will be judged by others by our results.
Leadership Ethics Leaders will be known for their character. Did we do the right thing, were we fair, were we good to others, and did we prompt justice?
Leadership Ethics “Watch your thoughts, for they become your words; Watch your words, for they become your actions; Watch your actions, for they become your habits; Watch your habits, for they become your character; Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” -------Frank Outlaw-------
Ethical Leadership References Badaracco, J.L., (1997). Defining Moments. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Fisher, R.S. & Martini, P.J., (2004). Inspiring Leadership: Character and Ethics Matter. Pa.: Academy Leadership Books. Gini, A., (1998). Moral Leadership and Business Ethics. Westport, CT.: Quorum Books. Northouse, P.G., (2004). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.