Leadership Ethics – What Employees Think about That

Ethics and morals are instilled in us when we’re young and assist in guiding our path in life. The evidence of this is found in our behavior and how we react in challenging situations. Ethics usually dictates that we take the right path which needs to be the one that will be fairest to all concerned. In many companies the values, actions and behavior of the managerial staff is the key to how the organization as a whole behaves. There are several things which can assist with instilling morals into a company:


Values Drive Behavior

Put simply, our values drive our attitudes and these attitudes drive our behavior. It therefore follows that company staff will see the values of the managerial staff and follow suit. A lack of values by the managers will result in a lack of values in the staff. Establishing and showing your values is an important part of leadership. The most important values are:

  • Wisdom and Knowledge – information is taken and converted to wisdom by understanding it. This wisdom is interpreted and becomes knowledge. The interpretation is based on pre-existing definition of right and wrong.
  • Self Control – the ability to say no, particularly if it would provide individual gain.
  • Justice and Fair guidance – This is the fair treatment of people, identifiable by someone receiving a return in proportion to the effort and energy used.
  • Transcendence – This is the belief in a greater power and prevents the development of self absorption.
  • Love and Kindness – Research suggests there are several types of love when it comes to the work building. If you have ethical values you can be seen to have a heart and are creating goodwill which can be drawn upon when needed.
  • Courage and Integrity – often an ethical decision is not the most profitable which means you will be under intense pressure to change your mind. Courage is needed to ensure you stay true to your belief.


Putting Virtuous Values in Place

It is important to decide how managers can proactively encourage a workforce to have good ethics. The starting point needs to be a case of understanding what is right and doing it whenever the opportunity arises. Hiring anyone should be a carefully considered opinion. A balance of skill and values is essential for the right person.

New employees need to become part of the social network in the workplace. This will ensure they are exposed fully to the company values. It is critical that staff can be held accountable for their actions. Words and deeds say far more about the person than anything else. These are seen and copied by the general staff. Staff surveys are also great method to have good ethics.

Behavioral Standards & Code of Conduct

Whilst we would hope that the majority of people act ethically due to the values they have been taught growing up, sometimes these values need reinforcing. Having written versions of the ethical conduct can ensure these values are present throughout the whole company.

The following are three very good reasons for practicing ethical behavior in your company:

  1. It is the right thing to do. This may seem like a stupid sentence but often we know what is right and wait, hoping to get a sign to do it differently to what we know should be done.
  2. It makes good economic sense – Research has now proved that the bottom line can be influenced by emphasising the softer side of a company. Good ethics dictate that employees are listened to, good work is recognized and good ethical behavior is rewarded.
  3. It is the socially responsible thing to do. This is becoming increasingly important to companies around the world as they face scrutiny of their decisions.


Ethics are now a vital part of any business and need to be recognized by the management to ensure the company can compete in an ever changing marketplace. Employees are well-aware of the importance of ethics at the office. Having a professional attitude towards leaders, and asking to be respected in return is perfectly natural. This is the only way for company owners and employees to work together in harmony. When workers feel valued and appreciated by their leaders, it’s only natural for them to want to do more and help increase company bottom line.

This guest post comes courtesy of Steve Brown.


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