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Free «Ethics in Leadership» Essay Sample


It is important to trust and to be trusted. Today, we are looking for helpful solutions in our society. Even in business and politics with employees, customers, and stockholders we cannot achieve success without special values of leadership. To be a good leader means to now the standards of running the business. Ethics and morality are the different types of leadership values and they are also the most meaningful components of it.

If the leader’s behavior is predicated on showing concern for the interest of others, it means that ethics is the heart of his leadership (Odom). However, ethics of leadership has more deep meaning and functions. The focus of this paper is on the ethics of leadership, its philosophy and types.

Ethical Leadership

“There is a better way to manage our personal lives, our companies, and our public institutions. Dr. Bellingham provides a convincing argument that strong ethical standards and adherence to clear values and responsible norms can provide corporations with a strategic competitive advantage and enrich us as employers, family members, and community citizens.” (Bellingham, p. 6).



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“The ethics of leadership %u2012 that is, the obligations of leaders to promote justice, fairness, trust, and the conditions necessary for people to live well in communities that flourish.” (Knapp and Carter). Leadership always goes hand in hand with communication rules. Thus, ethics is one of those leadership values which make the behavior of a good leader. Scholars says that a laissez-faire leadership style, which involves little control and guidance, leads to low productivity and even corruption. However, in these transactional companies followers will soon cease to experience dignity, meaning, and community so essential for the growth of the organization and its members (Malan and Smit).

Ethical decisions are a part of everyday life for people who work in companies. The ethical leaders mostly think about the others. They have enlightened self-interest at work and conform to rigorous ethical guidelines and pressures (Bellingham). When people trust the leader their communication is effective. This communication is vital to almost every aspect of leadership and management. Employees are sure in the reliability of the internal organizational information system and in their future (Malan and Smit).

There are several basic types of ethical frameworks:

  • Normative ethics %u2012 encompasses our behavior in groups, expressions of our sexuality, our dress and other conventions;
  • Kantian ethics %u2012 the categorical imperative %u2012 which is to say, there are certain things we simply must do to maintain our basic humanity (attributed to Immanuel Kant);
  • Utilitarian ethics %u2012 focuses on consequences, which are pervasive in our society. It drives government policymaking, economic input-output modeling, and cost-benefit analyses, and basically determines how our world works;
  • Social justice ethics %u2012 gives rights to those who otherwise lose out to the mainstream of society by coalescing their power behind a single issue;
  • Religious ethics %u2012 any leader should be sensitive to the deeper values and beliefs of those to whom his or her leadership is entrusted;
  • Communitarian ethics %u2012 a more secular and perhaps less controversial approach to moral theology, relies on the individual, society, and transcendental values (Buzz and Bowen).

There is one more classification of leadership values: ethical virtues—"old-fashioned character tests" such as sobriety, chastity, abstention, kindness, altruism, and other "Ten Commandments" rules of personal conduct; ethical values such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, reliability, reciprocity, accountability; and moral values such as order (or security), liberty, equality, justice, community (meaning brotherhood and sisterhood, replacing the traditional term fraternity). Each of these types of leadership values has implications for styles and strategies of leadership itself (Ciulla).

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The philosophy of ethical leadership influences strongly on the way the leaders do business. Ethical behavior creates new possibilities for the growth and stability of the business. However, the leaders should be careful in building ethical leadership strategies, as every type of these values has its consequences.


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