What can happen when leaders of an organization make poor ethical choices? Ethical leaders place ethics above profits and it has been shown through research that this choice helps teams to be loyal, dedicated and ethical too.
What Causes Ethical Failures?
Ethical failures can be caused by a variety of factors including ignoring boundaries set for organizational values, industry codes, doing what everyone else is doing and a lack of self-control. The lack of good role models, poor standards of practice and training as well as a lack of accountability will add to the ethical failures of a business.
How to Be an Ethical Leader
For the rest of this article there are six steps you can take to define ethical standards, and to start putting those high standards into practice.
1. Define Your Organization’s Values
The values of a business should be exemplified by the leaders and managers but if these people don’t know what the values are they cannot impart them to others.
2. Know Your Personal Values
Good leaders will have established their personal values to be used in conjunction with the values of the business. Each leader and manager should know what the standards of behavior are for their business. Determine specific values of other leaders that you admire and see if you identify with those values. Would those values conflict with your own especially if they lead to a competitive disadvantage?
3. Set the Tone
Once you have identified and accepted your personal and business values you can begin to establish the right environment for your team. The important aspect is being a good role model. Others will copy your behaviors and thereby set an example for others to follow.
4. Identify and Resolve Ethical Dilemmas
You should identify the situations that cause dilemmas in the company which many times come from purchasing, human resources functions, and more. Any threat to the image of income of the business could negatively affect your judgment. When you understand where most of the ethical dilemmas come from you will be attuned to the risk. Your conscience will let you know when something isn’t right, which will cause a feeling of uneasiness. If something stands in opposition to your core values, stop it immediately and reevaluate.