Ethical Leadership

Ethics word cloud glowing



Ethics and Leadership meets at various points, thus, ethical leadership can’t be examined without taking a gander at morals and leadership (authority) separately. Ethics are the standards, values and convictions that characterize what is good and bad in conduct. Leadership could be characterized as the specialty of helping, controlling and impacting individuals to act to attaining a typical objective.

By joining these two, one rapidly infers a basic definition for ethical leadership; the methodology of affecting individuals through standards, values and convictions that grasp what we have characterized as good behavior.

Ethics are vital to leadership in view of the way of the relationship between leaders and those devoted to them, the followers. Leaders influence their followers, this implies that their behavior has an impact on the lives of their followers, it could be in a good way or in a bad way. (Yukl, 2012).

Ethics spins around three ideas: “self,” “good” and ‘other’. Moral conduct obliges one to not simply consider what is beneficial for oneself, additionally consider what is useful for others.”

Moral initiative (ethical leadership) is concerned with leaders “doing the right thing” and not just “doing things right.” Leaders are in charge of developing the culture in their workplace or organization. Followers are expected to carry out tasks and display practices that re in line with the culture. At the point when leaders act in a moral way, these movements can raise the whole organization to very high levels of moral principles.

Ethical leadership can be described as both visible and invisible. In being visible, a leader stands out in behavior with regards to how he treats and works with others, his conduct out in the open, in his speeches and actions. The invisible side of ethical leadership lies in the leader’s character, his ability to make decisions, outlook on life, in the set of qualities and standards on which he draws, and in his ability to maintain moral choices in difficult circumstances.

Ethical leaders have to be morally upright all the time, not when somebody’s looking; they are ethical all the time, demonstrating over and over that morals are a basic a piece of the savvy and philosophical structure they use to comprehend and identify with the world.

The advantages of ethical leadership points of interest of moral authority qualities go past the process of just decision making. For the most part, a moral environment is one where leaders can:

  1. Look at ethical dilemmas from a variety of perspectives
  2. Reframe issues that appear to be ethical dilemmas
  3. Take action with a sense of ethical standards
  4. Exhibit the characteristic of conscious reflection.  This may take the form of talking through the dilemma to arrive at the most appropriate solution.

Over the years, studies have observed that in workplaces where leaders have honed ethical leadership abilities, these leaders were highly appreciated by the staff of the organization. (Richardson, 1992).

The way to having a morally run organization is employing morally upright leaders; this simply means for employees to act morally in the work, morally upright persons should lead them. “Ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in their organizations behave and what they achieve”.(Thorton, 2013)

A typical example is of Abimbola who is the director of a company that provides services to the homeless. Several boxes of high brand sweaters were donated to the company. The employees are happy and begin trying on these fancy sweaters. Everyone loves nice things, an unethical leader will let herself get carried away and have herself and her staff pick out what they like before sending the items out to clients. An ethical leader will call everyone to order, including herself, reminding everyone that donations are targeted at a group of people and they should be made available to those people only.

An ethical leader knows that good relationships are the most important standards to go by to have a united workforce. An ethical leader understands that great quality relationships, germinate and grow in the deep rich soil of fundamental principles: trust, respect, integrity, honesty, fairness, equity, justice and compassion which are the most important determinants of organizational success (Covey, 1991). Covey refers to such principles the “laws of the universe.”

Being an ethical leader will be easier if you inculcate the following questions into your daily thinking (Northouse, 2013):

• Is this the right and fair thing to do?

• Is this what a good person would do?

• Am I respectful to others?

• Do I treat others generously?

• Am I honest toward others?

• Am I serving the community?


The morals of a leader may be examined along a range of dimensions that cannot be understood separately. These dimensions are as follows:

1. The ethics of a leader as an individual, which incorporates things like self-knowledge, discipline and intentions

2. The ethics of the follower/leader relationship (i.e., how they treat one another)

3. The morals of the methodology of leadership (i.e., order and control, participatory)

4. The ethics of what a leader does or does not do

These dimensions provide a picture of the ethics of what a leader does and how he or she does it.



List Of References

Berghofer, D. & Schwartz, G. (2014) Ethical Leadership: Right Relationships and the Emotional Bottom Line: The Gold Standard for Success

Covey, R.S. Principle-Centered Leadership (New York: Summit Books, 1991), (2014). Institute For Ethical Leadership – [Online] Available at [Accessed 24 Jun. 2014] (2014) Ethical Leadership Skills. [Online] Available at [Accessed 25 Jun. 2014]

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Performance, Volume 5, Issue 2, May 2013. The full journal is available at

Richardson, M.D et al. (1992)“Teacher Perception of Principal Behavior—A Study”. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Knoxville, Tenessee, November 1992.

Thorton, L.F (2013). 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership

Van Buren, J.A. Ethical Leadership, Noonmark Nonprofit Services

Yukl, G. (2012). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


6 thoughts on “Ethical Leadership”

  1. Good attemp!
    I enjoyed the blog, especially Northouse´s questions to be asked in order to analyse the extent of our leadership skills.
    A little advice, adding videos could enhance your blog 🙂

  2. I can relate to this, because my manager ticks all these boxes..lets not forget, ethical leaders are easier to work with and highly respected..motivating the team..higher productivity because everyone is happy in the workplace

  3. Thank you Abi. Great that you have a manager who is ethical. I hope that when i get into the workforce, i get to work with someone like that. It is really important to be motivated and to genuinely be happy at one’s place of work. I think this helps in increasing productivity as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s