Ethical leadership sounds like a wonderful idea. After all, in a perfect world, shouldn’t all companies be ethical? So, what is ethical leadership? And how does it apply to YOUR organization?
What Is Ethical Leadership?
Ethical leadership is a management style guided by moral beliefs and values. Ethical leadership focuses on the common good as well as the rights and dignity of others. This includes concepts such as trust, honesty, consideration, charisma, and fairness.
The Benefits of Ethical Leadership
- A Healthier Company Culture
When organizations adopt an ethical leadership model, they hold both themselves and their employees to a higher standard. Behaviors such as slacking off, backstabbing and infighting are frowned upon. Instead, employees and managers are encouraged to do the right thing and support one another. Obviously, these overreaching expectations lead to a culture of trust and inclusion.
- More Loyal Customers
Given a choice, most people would prefer to purchase from a company known for its high ethical standards. Ethical organizations are more likely to produce quality goods and services, treat their employees well, and contribute to the greater good. These characteristics inspire customers and make them feel more devoted to their purchasing choices.
- A Better Business
Not surprisingly, a healthier company culture leads to more productive, engaged, and creative employees. This, in turn, results in a superior product. Plus, when you add loyal customers to the mix, your organization will have a definite edge over the competition.
How to Apply Ethical Leadership to Your Business
Of course, carrying out an ethical leadership model is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to put your company on the road to success.
- Establish Standards
Although the primary concepts of ethical leadership are universal, in practice, this leadership style will mean different things to different organizations. Therefore, you’ll need to define what your top priorities are. For example, one business may consider customer satisfaction to be of utmost importance while another may put a greater focus on community outreach.
- Cleary Communicate Values
Even the best-laid plans are useless if your employees don’t know what they are. In his book, The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle encourages leaders “to drastically overcommunicate priorities.” Don’t assume sending out a memo or reviewing your values once a year is enough. Coyle urges managers to paint priorities on walls, stamp them on emails, incant them in speeches, drop them into the conversation, and repeat them over and over until they became part of the oxygen.
- Set an Example
Finally, remember, effective leaders must talk the talk AND walk the walk. This applies not only to business decisions but also to personal choices. Sometimes, this won’t be easy. For instance, if your organization champions the importance of honesty, you may need to fire someone who was caught cheating.
Are You Hoping to Add Ethical Employees to Your Team?
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