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Throw Ethics in the Oven!

Updated on June 11, 2008

Tyco Ethics

WorldCom Ethics

Views on Ethics?

Views on Ethical Leadership

Ethical leadership is vital in business today. It is the backbone to any long lasting successful company in today's business market. It is important for companies to clearly layout their stance on ethical leadership to employees and the public, to have members of the company lead by example, and to reinforce the ethical leadership concept through out the year. By following these steps, the company will sustain or acquire ethical leadership in their company's culture.

Although business accepted ethics slightly change through out the years, everyone should know if an action is ethical or unethical before they take an action. The importance of companies clearly defining their stance on ethical behavior will let individuals know how making an unethical decision will impact them, their fellow workers, and the company as a whole. On the other hand members of the company will also know how making an ethical decision will have a positive impact. Once a clear ethical leadership stance is taken, the rules should be strictly upheld by rewarding or punishing ethical or unethical actions. There should be an unbiased group to facilitate this activity, for example a Human Resources Department.

Ethical leadership should be practiced by every employee, from the CEO to the mailroom clerk. Every member and every group can and should exhibit ethical leadership. This concept should not just be thought of as a manager to his report. Ethical leadership can happen in unexpected situations, for example where a CFO of a company asks the mailroom clerk to do an unethical act and the mailroom clerk refuses the CFO's request. The clerk refused based on the company's stance on ethical behavior. In this example, the clerk presented ethical leadership, but was in no way in a leadership role. The clerk would also feel safe taking this stance because he believes in his companies set rules on ethical leadership. He will not be negatively impacted due to the fact that he can contact his unbiased Human Resources department with issues of this nature, on top of the fact that he maybe rewarded for taking this ethical stance.

Reinforcing the ethical leadership concept through out the year is also important for businesses. Not only reinforcing, but reinforcing with meaning and showing the value of ethical leadership. Making positive examples of employees through rewards, have mandatory yearly training (make it fun), send positive ethical leadership examples out as part of company newsletter, ensure that unethical behavior is dealt with in an ethical way, restate company's stance during large meetings, make ethical leadership apart of each employees personal evaluation each year (make them give examples) and have ethical workshops. All of these examples will ensure that every employee knows the company's stance on ethical leadership through reinforcement.

The over all concept of ethical leadership is that it is as important as making a profit in the business world. Profit and ethical leadership should be top priorities for any company that plans to have a long lasting existence. Ethics in itself can become a very pliable term with many grey areas, so focusing on specific ethics may prove futile. However, focusing on doing the right thing along with the reinforcement of ethical leadership may be the answer. Baking ethical leadership into a company's culture is key.

Continue This Ethics Article


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