TheoreticalIssues of Ethics and Leadership
Organizations areable to thrive and become competitive in the market due to ethicalleadership. Ethical leadership is dictated by values and beliefs thatare defined in a given firm. Some of the ethical values common inmany organizations comprise respect to all employees, fairness,honesty and trust. This paper discusses three statements that involvemoral decisions made by leaders, ethical maturity and its influenceon followers, and how shared moral values sustain relationships.
Statement#1 By Joanne Ciulla, 2003
As described by Ciulla (2003), difficult moral decisions constructedby leaders tend to be risky as they are anchored on incomplete orimperfect information making it challenging to control the likelyoutcomes. During critical times, it is difficult to determine whethera leader will fail or succeed. Some decisions made by unethicalleaders may yield impressive results, and they are praised. On theother hand, plans of ethical leaders may result in woeful failure.Ethical leaders upon their failure receive forgiveness from theirfollowers as they observed care before their actions. Nevertheless,their trust diminishes greatly among their followers. People expecttheir leaders to navigate them successfully during challenges such asin the case of President Jimmy Carter. Americans anticipated hostagesto be free in Iran, but Carter’s attempt was futile (Ciulla, 2003).Carter risky attempt dissolved the confidence people held for him,thou he received no blame. His fate in saving the Iran hostages waswitnessed when he failed to secure a second term for the presidency.
Sinceit is difficult to predict with accuracy the likely results ofleaders’ actions, they should be judged by their right moralprinciples as opposed to the outcomes. During leaders’ judgment,evaluation should be based on their decision-making process. Flaweddecision-making will make a leader incompetent, irrespective of theoutcome. Leaders who flout an organization’s ethics threaten itsfuture stability due to disagreements that are likely to occur.Moreover, thou the unethical leaders may succeed, their chances ofmeeting the anticipated outcomes to all people are minimal comparedto ethical leaders. Ironically, many unethical leaders receivecredit upon succeeding under challenging situations. Outcomes canbarely ascertain technical competence, morality and skills of aleader. According to Ciulla (2003), before declaring a leader asethical, several questions need to be accompanied. The questionsinclude: what were the leader’s key intentions? What process didthe leader utilize to bring change? Finally, was the change desirableto all individuals?
A good leader should demonstrate traits of effectiveness and ethics.Some of the unethical leaders tend to be effective and meet the needsof their organization or constituents. The outcomes of their powertend to be desirable to many people such as Senator Trent Lott whocreated my employment opportunities in his constituent and made itadvance economically. However, Trent was a racist and was againagainst the progress of the minority races, which was unethical as itthreatened peaceful coexistence of his constituent. However, someleaders are ethical and fail to meet the requirements of theirrespective organizations such as Dunlop who was a leader at SunbeamCompany. Dunlop made Sunbeam fail to meet its target for consecutiveyears, leading to his dismissal. As a result, despite the situationinvolved, leaders should make sound ethical decisions afterconsultation with other leaders to enhance their effectiveness andchances of positive outcomes.
Statement#2 By Kelly Monahan, 2012
Asdiscussed by Monahan (2012), once leaders advance in inner ethicalmaturity, their character makes their followers observe ethicalliving. Leaders who adhere to ethics influence their followers tolead moral actions in an organization and act in consistency withtheir words. According to Monahan, there exist a sharp disconnectionto the words of a leader and his/her words. Leaders whose wordsconflict their actions create an ethical dilemma in the workplace.Expecting followers to behave differently from a leader causesmistrust and disunity in an organization. Ethically mature leadersare able to assess situation demands, consider the perspective oftheir followers and weigh competing considerations. In addition,ethical leaders are able to determine the best course of action,recognize their circumstance and anticipate the likely outcomes fromtheir followers. To prevent ethical dilemmas, leaders should firstimprove their characters to eliminate biases, situation pressures anddevelopment problems (Monahan,2012). For instance, if a leader decides to improveproductivity through training, a leader should be familiar with thetraining to be undertaken. As a result, a leader will know thechallenges involved, which will act as his/her base duringdecision-making regarding the followers. Followers are keen toobserve the traits of their leaders. Followers usually emulate theirleaders and hence leaders should be charismatic and committed to winthe approval of the people they lead.
Inorder to achieve their plans, ethical leaders use their lifeexperiences, allegories, and parables (Monahan,2012). By using examples, the followers are able tounderstand the importance upholding ethical actions. Mature leadersare able to impart values they embrace and create a win-winsituation. Monahan emphasizes the importance of effectiveness amongthe leaders. Leaders who have nurtured their ethics are able to abideby their principles as well as sustain an organization`s profit,which increases respect from their followers.
Furthermore,in order for leaders to influence their followers, they should oftenevaluate results of their past decisions. It is important for leadersto conduct a survey of employees, who indicates the ethical situationof an organization. Most employees or followers tend to be reliableand sincere if their evaluation results they provide are anonymous.By utilizing assessment report from employees, it illuminates howfollowers perceive ethical leadership in a particular organization.As a result, ethical leaders usually gauge their ethicaleffectiveness before implementing rules in their respectiveorganizations.
Statement# 3 By Joseph Hester & Killian, 2010
Asstated by Hester and & Killian (2010), relationship withfollowers and shared moral values determine the type leadership in anorganization. Leaders should be aware of their values and beliefs tofacilitate external and internal assessment. Great leaders are shapedby relationships created both inside and outside their immediateenvirons. It is difficult for an individual to be regarded a greatleader through willpower or his/ her strategies (Hester &Killian, 2010). Followers are able to indicate flaws that affect aleader, which increases his/her effectiveness. Leaders are also ableto discover their untapped potential through interaction with others.Immediately a leader begins applying his/her values, one is subjectedto organizational assessment. If the followers conduct assessmentopenly, leaders remain at ease due to freedom created. Leaders shouldseek clarification for approval or disapproval of some of theirethics. Clarification of the ethics perceived negative in anorganization lead to harmonious and respectful relationship. Everyorganization has its conduct of ethics depending on the country orits goals. A leaders’ ethics should be aligned with theorganization one serves.
Leadersshould develop a culture that promotes dialogue to determine the corevalues of all the followers (Hester & Killian, 2010). Frequentcommunication is important to recognize the shared values.Organizations that value communication, their members are able touphold mutual respect and dignity and after sometime, as they engagein discussions with the same attitudes. Shared values ensure leadersdo not use authority or intimidation when interacting with theiremployees. Reputable leaders recognize the importance of moral humanecology while interacting with their followers. Healthy relationshipsevolve around respect for diversity and other people’s ideas,consequence sensitive, dignity, and respect for human rights. Leaders should promote a relationship that enhances the well-being ofthe followers. The consequences of deviating from the establishedvalues should not be met with termination of one job position ordemotion. A leader should work to determine why specific individualschose to violate shared values as they may indicate that a leader isnot effective in some areas. For leaders to nurture a viablerelationship, they strong maintain diligence, flexibility, andopenness during communication. As a result, leaders should be awareof the ongoing activities and assess them frequently to know how torespond to various questions from the followers.
Insummary, reputable leadership is determined by ethics, effectivenessduring decision-making and shared moral values. The results of thedecision made by leaders make them unpopular or admirable among theirfollowers. A leader should strive to uphold organizational ethics aswell as deliver the expected outcomes. Moreover, leaders shouldenhance ethical maturity and match their actions with their words.Leaders should communicate with their followers frequently and assesstheir values against the values preferred the people they lead.
Ciulla, J. B. (2003). Ethics andleadership effectiveness. Thenature of leadership,302-327.
Hester, J., & Killian, D. R. (2010). The moral foundations ofethical leadership. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 3(1), 5.
Monahan, K.(2012). A review of the literature concerning ethical leadership inorganizations. Emergingleadership journeys, 5(1),56-66.