In this current age, there is so much discussion on ethics and leadership; and in every society people strive to elect leaders who have good ethics. In fact leaders are screened thoroughly to ascertain their past life before being appointed or elected into any senior positions in the government. The criteria of identifying ethical leaders in different societies vary; however, there are significant similarities.
According to Bibb ethical leaders do not condone any “wrongdoings’ and are role models to their employees. It has been realized that highly regarded companies advocate for high standards of ethics and as a result they are less susceptible to scandals. Notably, ethical leaders must exalt the interest of the organization first whereas their own interest comes second. Singer defines ethics as morals. Lussier and Achua3(p.59) in their book, ‘theory, application and skills development’ described ways of becoming ethical leader and they pointed out that an ethical leader invariably does the right thing irrespective of whether anyone is seeing them or not. They asserted that ethical leadership requires courage which is molded for a long period of time.
More to this point, Salaman, Storey and Billsberry wrote in their book that the myths of ethical leadership is based on ‘the characters and qualities of individual’ which they named as ‘fairness, honest and integrity’. Nonetheless, it has been argued that personality or rather personal qualities are not sufficient for an exceptional principled leader. Menzel argues that, one can be born more or less ethical; however, he says that how somebody was brought up in life contributes to the level of ethics. Burke and Cooper in his book ‘inspiring leaders’ gave various definitions of ethical leaders; they described ethical leaders as ‘ordinary people who are living their lives as examples of making the world a better place while reaping benefits for themselves’.
Peterson and Ferrell gave a comprehensive description of ethical leaders. In their description, ethical leader are people who assist others to achieve their dreams, and ‘create value for stakeholders’ and perform their duties within the boundary of ethics. This position is accepted by most authors, scholars and researchers who have carried out their research on ethical leadership. According to Sousa ‘ethical leadership begins with ethical leaders’; she describes ethical leaders as those people who demonstrate courage, honesty, and accept responsibility for their deeds.
Steiner, Gilliland and Skarlicki said that people view ethical leaders as those who have courage; according to the interview they carried out, their respondents did not characterize ethical leaders as ‘visionary, future-oriented, or passionate’. More to this point, Gupta articulates that ethical leaders are motivated by the need to support others, however, the cost incurred. Pride, Hughes, and Kapoor in their argument of ‘what an ethical leader is’; they posed several self examining questions; they concluded by saying that, and ethical leader impacts individual behaviour and develops company’s ethical values.
According to Hester becoming an ethical leader implies creating an atmosphere for employees’ dialogue and accommodating positive and negative sentiments into our lives. Bellingham in his book gave eighteen points to describe ethical leadership; one of the point is ‘resisting policy of self interest’. Siebenspointed out that, exhibiting vision and charisma is not sufficient to be an ethical leader. Pollock believes that an ethical leader must be in a position to pass on a vision and show dedication to the mission of the company. Kidwell and Martin classified executive leaders into three categories: ethical leaders, unethical leaders, hypocritical leaders and ethically neutral leaders. It has been noted that moral leadership is fundamentally ‘reputational phenomenon’.
Shriberg believes that ethical leadership is more than vision and values; he says that people elect leaders who have high integrity and who observe ethics. According to Mendonça and Kanungo a good leader is defined by character and competencies. Placing others before self is basically or rather articulated as the important component of ethical leader. Freeman, Harrison, and Wicksexplained that the ‘duties of ethical leader requires both curiosity and humility in addition to fierce determination to accomplish results’. Daftmade a comparison of ethical leader and unethical leader and he described that ethical leader serves others.