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Ethical decisions in leadership

Ethical leadership is all about ones knowledge or awareness of his or her core values and having the courage to live them in all parts of ones life in the service of common good. It incorporates the internal beliefs and values with behaviors and actions with a general purpose of the common good. People want to become leaders who can make a difference. Individuals therefore discover and develop some core values, visions for how the world could be different and even find their personal voice in expressing their vision. They then make commitments of living and behaving in ways that serve the community for the common good of everyone.

The common shared purpose is to campaign towards a future that is visionary and one that enables all members of the society to accomplish their dreams, needs and their potentials. Ethical leadership begins with a clear understanding of ones commitment to ones main values by first making a discovery of the values of their identities and integrating the peculiar ones with the choices we make, either personal or civic. The view of traditional ethical leadership is a little different and argues that the main goal of leaders is to improve on productions and make profits in their respective areas of leadership (Staw, 2004). This is however, slowly changing since many theorists are now of the opinion that leaders have the responsibility of ensuring moral and ethical standards are inculcated in their organizations. Good leadership, according to theorists therefore means not only competency, but the transformation of people as well.


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Ethical leadership therefore entails a responsibility to influence others to perform an action, complete given assignments or duties assigned to them as well as acting in a specific and desired manner as required. An effective leadership should therefore influence a process; heighten changes in subordinates and values. Nurturing the aspect of leaders is therefore believed to improve on organizational cultures and the employees values to greater levels of ethical concerns. Ethical leadership therefore needs ethical leaders as this will ensure.

As an organization leader, I will work hard to lead in a way that respects the freedoms, rights and dignities of others who operate under me. I’ll therefore be able to demonstrate a high level of integrity as this will be important in displaying some sense of trustworthiness as a leader. I believe that the characters and integrity of a leader has a way of providing for individual characteristics that guides a leader’s values, beliefs and above all the decisions that he or she makes as a leader. These have a great impact on the ethical decision making process of leaders.  Subordinates can now draw some sense in this and even accept my visions as their leader. I trust that these are very critical and important constituent elements towards leading my organization ethically as leader.

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As an organization leader further, I have the responsibility of being a people-oriented person as I am aware of how my decisions will influence them. I will therefore use my social power to serve the major interests of the organization in general other than employing self interests in my services as a leader. I will motivate them too and encourage them as well to put the interests of the organization ahead of their own personal interests. This will involve motivating them in an emotional and intellectual way emphasizing group efforts that make both parties having equal responsibility in the pursuit of a common goal. I believe this will assist my subordinates adopt a sense of personal competence that allows them to be self-sufficient by encouraging them and empowering them.

I am of the opinion that ethics in my leadership is very vital and I must therefore make wise decisions that will not only benefit my subordinates but also think of how this will be able to affect them. I will therefore make my values and ethics known and apply them in my leadership through action. If you don’t make clear what you want, and expect, it can cause mistrust. This I will do this by communicating correct information where there is personal, ethical or legal authority to do so. I also believe that by practicing these ethics, I’ll gain lot of admirations from most of my subordinates or employees of the organization and with justifications that I did the right thing.

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I believe that leaders who make decisions for personal reasons of building power, create a reputation and amass wealth entirely miss the point. This portrays lack of fundamental philosophy and this bars any real ethical objectivity. My major concern will therefore be devoted to solving ethical problems in my organization by making my employees to understand clearly ethical behavior. This I’ll do by clearly defining what is ethical and what is not hence giving guidelines to promote ethical behaviors. The first step of encouraging my employees to be more ethical is by coming up with some code of ethics. I will be ensuring that the code is comprehensive in addressing critical issues applicable in all areas of the organization. The writing of the code of ethics will only act as a beginning and this I’ll ensure is communicated to all the employees in order to increase its effectiveness. Communicating the codes of ethics to employees, I believe will add some weight to it.

As the leader of my organization, I know I’ll be viewed as more serious about my expectations over the ethical behavior if the guidelines have been extensively communicated to everybody. This I can make possible through various means, for example, personal memoranda, office board postings and departmental announcements. The method of communication is however to me not as important as the fact that the ethical codes be well known and understood by everyone within the organization. Employees can therefore not be expected to behave in a desired manner when they have not been properly shown the guidelines. When they are familiar with these, they now are able to have a clear idea of the management’s expectations of them. As the leader of the organization, I believe that the guidelines for ethical behavior are able to minimize the areas of uncertainty for employees. The right course of action is therefore made clearer when there is a code of ethics in place as this provides a direction for the employees’ behavior.

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Once I have communicated the codes of ethics to my employees, I’ll now have the burden of setting an example            for them. By acting as a role model, I’ll be able to fulfill various requirements. First, they look to us as leaders of the organization .This therefore acts as good way of reinforcing ethical behavior as expected of them. It even adds more credibility to the code of ethics as the management is seen as offering great support to the guidelines implemented.   In addition to this, I am able to demonstrate that the code implemented can work as well as providing guidance to the organization’s actions. Employees are also not able to resent against the adopted guidelines in the codes of ethics when as their leader I am not adhering to the adopted guidelines. They do not feel ruled out when the guidelines for ethical behavior are implemented.

To ensure ethical behaviors are implemented, I will be also      able to apply sanctions on unethical behaviors. I believe that a code of ethics that is not supported by sanctions is useless and not effective at all. I therefore support sanctions when unethical behaviors occur among the employees. I’ll ensure the sanctions are well understood by all the employees. This tells the employees what is expected of them and also what they can expect if they do not comply with the guidelines. My view is that when such behavior is not punished within the organization, the culprits would assume that it was not bad. The outcome is that the code of ethics is rendered useless when action is not taken by the management. If we do not as leaders of the organizations, push for adherence to the guidelines through the appropriate punishment then we wouldn’t be seen as serious in our implementations. The employees can now continually engaging themselves in unethical behavior because they know they cannot be punished in any way. This means allowing inappropriate behavior within the organization.

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To promote ethical and legal behaviors in my organization as a leader, I need to reward some of the positive actions of my employees. I am of the belief that each positive action by employees rewarded increases the likelihood that they will go on doing the right things as guided by the codes of ethics governing the organization. Rewards encourage good behavior and knowing that they will be rewarded they abide to the codes of ethics guiding the organization. It also helps the employees by giving them directions on the expected codes of ethics hence encouraging them to be more ethical.

As a leader of an organization, I am also aware of the changing nature of the various workplaces. I will therefore inculcate ethics training as a priority of the organization. I am also aware that today’s employees are made up of people with different diversity in terms of religion, nations of origin, culture, values, age, education, different socioeconomic status as well as perceptions of acceptable behaviors. Many of them have career expectations that may be difficult to achieve in today’s changing society. These employees with diverse cultures are to work together in one spirit of cooperation and respect for the good of the organization and the public the organization serve as a whole.

These employees face decisions that may impact on their job security, salaries and the success of their employing organization. These give them a lot of pressure to protect their interests and sometimes at the risk of losing their individual and corporate integrity. There is still more pressures on employees in organizations to do more with fewer resources and even adjust quickly too many coming changes. I n response to this many pressures, some of the employees engage themselves in unethical behaviors. There are many issues facing the society and business organizations in general. This includes retrenchments, pollution, scarce resources, and changes in law and technology, discriminations against minority and product safety. These issues are so complex and have diverse effects on the affected employees. They create ethical problems that are quite difficult to solve.

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In resolving ethical problems in my organization as a leader, I believe the solution lies on more than one individual. All the stakeholders must be involved in solving both the legal and ethical dilemmas that may arise. This will involve discussing, analyzing and making decisions as these are very critical as far as resolving ethical conflicts is concerned. The decision to involve many in the ethical and legal conflicts resolutions is that the opinions and expertise of all stakeholders are taken into consideration. In this, I will have also taken into account the views of our potential customers since their decision to do business with us will rely much on the organizations reputation in regard to ethical behavior.

 I believe too that in resolving ethical problems, we need interpersonal as well as negotiation skills. Honesty, ability to work as a unit, respect for everybody, being responsible for ones actions and loyalty are all crucial to this struggle. I will therefore train my employee’s skills crucial to critical thinking and conflict resolutions as a way of resolving ethical and legal dilemmas that may eventually arise in future.

 Management and all levels of employees need to embrace all the factors related to ethical behaviors and adopt strategies to enable them gauge their individual and organizational ethics. They offer a means of understanding the organization’s value, their own and other people. Surveys conducted in recent years indicated that 36.9 percent of organizations with more than 100 employees have been providing ethics training. This is according to the findings of training in1990.It was 26.6 percent in 1989 and 19.7 in 1988(Johnston, 2008). This means that training in ethics has now become part of an organization’s development.

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As a leader of an organization, I have a responsibility to work on my own wellbeing as this will have a great influence on my employees and my colleagues in management. Understanding my personality will be important. This well enable me develop self-awareness in order to assist others attain greater self awareness as well as development of their own self. This is vital as a motivation factor bearing in mind that different people are endowed with different strengths and weaknesses. I am therefore of the belief that the more I understand an employee’s personality, the better I will be able to judge what motivates him or her. I will in this case be able to adapt to ways of working with others, how to pass information, how to come out with tasks and how to delegate them.

 I believe too that has a leader, especially in an electronically-connected world, I am challenged because we are bound by universal beliefs allowing us to transact business at the same time maintaining good human relationships in our respective organizations. I believe that as ethical leadership is based on holistic thinking and this encompasses complex and very challenging issues faced on daily basis. I therefore need knowledge and experience in making the right decisions towards running the organization. I will also base my spirituality to guide me. I believe it provides a calling to any profession and really serves as a source in times of change as it influences use of power, decision making and general communication with co-workers.

The case of the First National Bank brings out an insight into the all issue of the organizational ethics. Ben finds the increased emphasis on ethics frustrating.

Ethics demand that leaders should put more emphasis on doing the right thing and not only doing things right. This comes as a shock for many leaders of organizations who find themselves filled with difficulties finding the code of ethics interrelated well by their co-workers or the management involved. Such dilemmas are faced on daily basis by leaders who have moral obligations towards their employees but have no clear clue on which perspective is right in terms of morals. Ben still meets more the same problem with the other loans officer, Shelby Grant whom she wanted to donate prizes meant for charity. Shelby Grant seems not happy with the idea. This brings out a conflict of ethical responsibilities and the questions ethical responsibilities organizational leaders have.

From the context, one notes that leaders of organizations sometimes face strange sets of ethical demands. Organizations are moral institutions designed to promoting social ideologies or norms. Leaders are agents and in this case they have a burden making decisions that favor a moral value over another. Moreover, although organizations are dedicated with the wellbeing of the employees, at times they have virtually no voice in what happens as in the case of the First National Bank in this case study. Codes of ethics demands that leaders conducts should be deliberately moral.

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A leader’s moral obligation is seen not only in his or her obvious daily ethical dilemmas, but in policies and other structures that hide ethical implications. Any social arrangement that benefits only a few at the expense of others; simply to assume that the organizations embrace desired standards is ethically unsophisticated, if not culpable. Ethics demands well for a common goal; therefore the three officials of the First National Bank didn’t behave responsible as individuals as they didn’t create an ethical institution. Leaders have a moral duty to exercise their authority in an ethical way. Much of their authority should be moral; employees and clients of the organization must be convinced that the leader’s views are values that they also support. Bureaucratic authority will rarely have a positive impact on the organization’s wellbeing


The organizational outcomes of the employees are greatly influenced by their leader’s adherence to the set code of ethics that guide the organization. A leaders’ ethical behavior will to a greater extent determine the employees’ commitment and trust they bestow in the leadership. (Mesick et. al., 2001).Leaders therefore have a responsibility to set moral standards for organization employees and determine activities that add value to the society in general. As an ethical leader of my organization, I therefore have a responsibility to create or come up with the right conditions and cultures that will enhance the development of ethical behavior within the organization.

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Ethics is generally concerned with the actions of an individual and the impacts on others for a common goal. A case of leaders applying ethical egoism, according to me, doesn’t work well in most cases. In this is, a leader of an organization assumes an act to be either moral or immoral depending on his personal objectives. They assume an act is ethical when the outcomes of the act are advantageous to them and not those others. This can result in decisions where employees feel their working rights are being violated and this may lead to horrible results in the organization. The rights of differing parties involved in running the organization may also affect the outcomes of the organization. A leader should therefore address a distributive justice and fairness based on allocating outcomes such as payments, organization rewards and promotions relative to employees’ level of input to the organization.

In general, ethical leadership is a critical factor influencing the employees’ commitment to the organization. An effective leadership is therefore meant to empower, which, in turn, is expected to encourage commitment within the organization as a well as effectiveness.

Leadership dimensions such as structure initiation, communication, giving considerations are antecedents of this organizational commitment at personal levels. Research has shown that commitment within the organization is relative to the leaders’ ethical behavior and that employees whose leaders provides a room for decision making feel considered (Charlotte,2004). Such leaders they consider take personal needs and rights into consideration and treat them fairly. They are therefore able to have a high moral level of reasoning because they are able to maintain a positive relationship between ethical behavior levels of their employees’ commitment.

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The construct of Ethical codes in organizations has received a wider attention due to the impacts it has towards organizational effectiveness. It is however proposed that employee trust will enhance their adherence with the organizational set codes of ethics thus facilitating smooth organizational change. Scholars have also based their definitions of employees trust on their organizational leaders on the notion they believe that an individual they trust will act. In a way that is beneficial to them (Picket, 2005).



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