What’s it: Ethical leadership emphasizes conformity to recognized norms and values. Leaders emphasize principles such as fairness, honesty, accountability, and trust. In addition, they promote these principles to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making.
By promoting ethics, leaders promote strong integrity. In addition, it encourages subordinates to place high trust in the leader. Finally, they are happy to accept and follow the leader’s vision.
At a higher level, ethical leaders can lead the company to develop its culture and values in a better direction. It improves the company’s image, and the public will view it positively.
Why is ethical leadership important?
Several reasons explain why ethical leadership is essential for a company. First, if leaders uphold ethics, it will spread throughout the organization. They uphold the values developed within the organization and expect subordinates to demonstrate and behave by these values.
Second, ethical leaders are important to foster a positive environment within the company. It leads to productive relationships, whether on an individual, team, or organizational level. Thus, it yields positive results and benefits on all three levels.
Third, the positive environment built through ethical leadership leads to higher productivity. It also has an impact on positive work attitudes among subordinates.
For example, leaders value and show respect for subordinates. It will also lead to positive reciprocity. As a result, employees not only show and trust the leader. But, they are also motivated to give their best.
Fourth, ethical leadership is important to build team synergy. Leaders and subordinates build strong collaboration between them. Finally, it leads to high morale at work.
When leaders build strong bonds, it is easier to encourage subordinates to realize their vision. Subordinates and superiors are in the same mode to accomplish the mission.
Fifth, the public sees the company’s image positively. The values built are spread outside the organization, for example, through social interactions between subordinates and colleagues. Finally, it creates a perception among people outside the organization. For example, the public sees the company as a friendly and employee-friendly workplace.
Such a positive image is essential, for example, to build a competitive advantage. As a friendly workplace, many professionals out there intend to apply for a job at the company. As a result, recruitment is not only easier. But, it’s also cheaper, for example, because it reduces promotional costs. Moreover, it provides more opportunities for companies to recruit the best talent.
What are the six principles of ethical leadership?
Ethical leadership works by promoting six main principles. They are:
This principle underscores morality. It is about treating things the way they should, without justifying them first. For example, an employee made a mistake. The leader does not immediately impose sanctions but explores the reasons behind them. And if it is due to negligence, they may act according to the company’s rules.
In addition, justice also prioritizes treating and behaving impartially and fairly without favoritism. For example, we expect others to treat us fairly and vice versa; they also expect that from us. Therefore, we hold to acceptable standards and be reasonable in their responses.
We may often see some make mistakes. However, they often move quickly to avoid the consequences. Or they prefer to blame others and victimize others for what they do.
Accountability is about consciously behaving, carrying out roles by applicable standards, and being responsible for all consequences.
This principle is essential because it underscores a strong and trustworthy leader. Accountable leaders take full responsibility not only for their decisions. But, they are also responsible for the consequences.
For example, the leader may make decisions according to the rules. Yet, their decisions are unsuccessful and hurt the organization. And accountable leaders are brave and willing to admit and bear the consequences, not blame others.
If the leader does not trust the subordinates, then how will the subordinates believe in them? Trust is important for building strong bonds in interpersonal relationships. When a strong bond is created between subordinates and superiors, it will lead to synergy. They will be in the same mode to achieve what they agreed upon.
For example, the leader introduces a new policy. Subordinates then view it positively. Because they believe in the leader, they believe the policy is in their interests.
Likewise, strong trust will make it easier for the organization to achieve its newly launched vision.
Honesty connotes originality, openness, integrity, sincerity, and freedom from lying, cheating, or stealing. It underlies trust. In other words, without honesty, there will be no trust between leaders and subordinates.
Honesty is important to create an environment where subordinates and superiors can provide constructive feedback. They can discuss important issues openly.
In other cases, for example, leaders are willing to accept criticism from subordinates when they are honest about mistakes. Subordinates are honest about it because it’s not to embarrass the leader, but they see its effect on the organization.
An honest culture must be built within the organization. Learning organizations rely on it to continually improve themselves. Without honesty, people would prefer to hide their mistakes. And it can be dangerous for the organization because there will be no effort to introspect and learn from mistakes.
Equality means treating something equally, especially regarding rights, status, and opportunities. The leader treats each subordinate according to norms and is consistent between individuals. And they offer opportunities without favoritism or considering differences in their background, gender, or position.
This principle is important for building trust and respect. When the leader values each subordinate equally and treats them fairly, it generates strong morale among them. They will be confident and enthusiastic because they are appreciated by the leader.
This principle is about admiring someone’s abilities, qualities, or accomplishments. For example, in a simple case, you receive sharp criticism from a subordinate. And you don’t like that. But, you still have respect for him because, for example, his honesty or contribution to the company. So, respect requires you not to see just one bad thing in your subordinates and ignore their many virtues.
Great leaders are respected by subordinates. But, they are not snobby. On the contrary, they built it over a long time and with great effort. So, when subordinates respect them, subordinates are willing to work harder to achieve their shared goals.
What to read next
- Authoritarian Leadership: Meaning, Characteristics, Pros, and Cons
- Autocratic Leadership: Characteristics, Examples, Pros, Cons
- Charismatic Leadership: Meaning, Examples, Characteristics, Pros, Cons
- Democratic Leadership: Meaning, Characteristics, Pros, Cons
- Ethical Leadership: Its Importance and Principles
- Informal Leader: Their Importance, How To Be
- Laissez-Faire Leadership: Characteristics, Pros, Cons
- Leadership Style: What Is It? What are the types?
- Leadership: Meaning, Characteristics and Types of Leadership Style
- Paternalistic Leadership: Characteristics, Pros, Cons
- Servant Leadership: Meaning, Characteristics
- Situational Leadership: How It Works, Types, Pros, Cons
- Strategic Leaders: Meaning, Importance, Characteristics
- Transactional Leadership: Meaning, Examples, Characteristics, Pros, Cons
- Transformational Leadership: Characteristics, Why They Matter