In the past month I have been heavily engaged in discussions about leadership and leadership styles; what the different styles are, which ones are effective and what does it really mean to be a leader. This is not an unusual topic of conversation in the field of training & coaching, in fact, it is the perfect stimulus for thinking about the role of ethics in leadership and what it means to be an ethical leader.
We know that ethics are the principles, values and beliefs that define what is right and wrong behaviour and leadership is the process of influencing others to achieve their personal goals as well as the goals of the business.
Ethical leadership then, is directed by strong beliefs, caring about others, building trust, honesty and fairness. BaP supports and encourages us to be ethical leaders, being clear about our values and ensuring we exhibit the behaviours that people relate to business owners who see beyond the bottom line.
A few things to consider as ethical leaders are:
1. Being crystal clear on what our values are and living by those values in all areas of our lives consistently.
2. Demonstrating what our values mean to us. Words are cheap; it’s what we do that truly impacts others.
3. Supporting, encouraging and training team members so that they too demonstrate the values of the business. Staff need to know that they are free to report unacceptable behaviour in the work environment (bullying, discrimination, etc) as well as report instances of low team moral.
4. Communicating as openly and honestly as possible, ensuring that effective communication channels run through the entire business. Not only is it the right thing to do, it will assist in the building of meaningful relationships, strengthening the team and the business.
5. Taking a pro-active approach to learning about ethics and its place in the work environment. Being a member of BaP makes this relatively easy as they are always looking at ways to develop their member’s knowledge around ethics and sustainability (check out the 3 session course starting in May).
If we truly want to be ethical leaders we have to be ready, willing and able to understand the role of ethics and how to implement it in an actionable way; helping us to keep & develop great team members, gain happy confident customers and build strong reputations. The ethical leader; leading the way for the good of all.