A Question Of Ethics

1500 Louisiana Street building, built for Enro...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you think it is okay for the president to cheat on his wife?

I hope you do not feel this is okay. Yet there are many who feel this is acceptable.

When Clinton committed sexual acts with an intern, many turned a blind eye. They said it has nothing to do with his leadership ability.

Do you think it is okay for a company to bilk its investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars?

This happened a few years back with Enron. Many people were up in arms over the misappropriation of funds.

These two examples created vastly different reactions. Yet both were caused by a lack of ethics or a failure of ethics.

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.
— Albert Camus

Ethics is defined as “The moral principles of a person.”

I regard ethics as a key character trait of leadership. Without it, how can you be trusted?

What can you do to ensure you are an ethical leader?

These 5 traits are the cornerstone of ethical leadership-

  1. Honesty
    Do not misrepresent the facts. Hold to a standard that the truth will be told. Do not tolerate dishonesty.
  2. Take Responsibility
    When mistakes are made, own up to them. Do not hide the failure. Admit that there was a failure. Accept the consequences and move on.
  3. Compassion
    Ethical leaders know that leadership requires compassion. Everyone falls at one point or another. By extending compassion, ethical leaders show they understand this fact. They know even they might fall one day. Without compassion, there is no redemption.
  4. Fairness
    Be fair in your dealings as a leader. When you are not fair, you are taking advantage of others. Those around you will start to question your ethics.
  5. Seek Guidance
    Many have gone before you. They are wiser than you. Seek the guidance of other ethical leaders and you will grow in the area of ethical leadership.

I hope you have these traits in your leadership today. If not, start working towards them today.

With these traits you can avoid much heartache and humiliation. Lets not have that happen to you.

I believe you can be an ethical leader. Go out and lead well.

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
— Immanuel Kant

Question: What other traits would you say make an ethical leader? Please share your answer in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.