A relationships between a leader’s responsibility for ethical behavior and the idea of an ethical organization culture is extremely important. “Charismatic leadership can motivate people to achieve at higher levels.” (Warrick,2016, 4.2). Ensuring a leader is able to bring out a higher level of motivation from his or her team is important trait as a leader ensuring he does that ethically. If a leader has no sense of responsibility for ethical behavior, how will the people that follow him exemplify their behaviors. For example, Donald Trump, he is a President of the United States. Yet somehow is able exemplify behaviors that benefit him and his organization. Even though he is leading the United States, he tries to help himself as much as possible. What a leader does in public and in private are both major factors of a leader. What one does in private shows their true character and what one does in public is just another face of that character. Some people have different morals publicly and privately and one should be able to distinguish what they are especially if they are a leader. One must know the leader inside and out. A bad person can defiantly be a great leader. For example, Steve Jobs. He would always belittle his team but his team was changing the industry in many different ways. He was revolutionizing the technology industry, but he was a very bad person. It is extremely important for leader to demonstrate ethical conduct because they should always be leading by example. If they do not exemplify ethically conduct, their team will not. I think improving ethical values in an organization include all three, a code of ethics, leader behavior, or employee training. One is no better then the other, because they all play hand in hand with one another. One must have one to get the other done. I cannot have training about ethics without a code of ethics.
Warrick, D.D. (2016). Leadership: A high impact approach [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
A leader’s behavior has a major effect on the culture of the organization they lead. They cast a shadow of what is right, wrong, and acceptable in the organization by their actions. Ethical leaders set an important tone throughout the culture of an organization because they understand the importance of modeling good behaviors for their employees. Bill and Melinda Gates have set a high tone for integrity in their foundation. The code of conduct for the foundation (https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Careers/Policies (Links to an external site.), 2019) has several key elements that promote integrity:
We are honest, fair and trustworthy in our foundation activities and relationships.
We always treat colleagues and others with respect.
We follow foundation policies.
We report integrity concerns.
We cooperate with internal investigations.
I also appreciate that the foundation has a corporate governance program to protect whistle-blowers. I find it extremely relevant given all of attention and news related to whistle-blowers in our current political space in the United States.
Can a leader’s public and private morality be distinguished? Should they be? Yes, they can and should be distinguished for the sake of assessing who the person really is. A person can appear ethical and morally sound in public and perform very unethical acts in their private lives. Unfortunately, some people can put on masks and live out public personas that are different from their personal ones. A great leader doesn’t separate ethics in their public and private life; they act with integrity all the time.
Can a bad person be a good leader? A bad person can be a good leader if they get people to work together and accomplish a goal without promoting bad or unethical behavior. It’s not best to assume that bad people always show up in ways that are easy to recognize them as bad people; this happens sometimes, but not always. A bad person can certainly be a bad leader if they are promoting and teaching bad behaviors or doing things without concern for the safety or well-being of employees.
Why is it important for leaders to demonstrate ethical conduct? It’s so important for leaders to display ethical conduct because their employees will take their direction from the leader on how they should behave and act by simply watching what the leaders do (Warrick, 2016). A leader’s character has so much influence on their employees.
Which is more important for improving ethical values in an organization: a code of ethics, leader behavior, or employee training? All three are equally important to improve and promote the ethical values within a company. A code of ethics sets the tone and expectations for the company’s values. It is important that the company has leaders that promote and live those values. Employee training gives examples and coaching on what is right and wrong within the company to equip the employees for success.
Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Careers/Policies (Links to an external site.)
Warrick, D.D. (2016). Leadership: A high impact approach [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/ (Links to an external site.)
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