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Ethical Leadership

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Organizational leaders are responsible for performing actions, completing tasks, and behaving in a specific manner while upholding to ethical standards and generating a profit. Ethical leaders do the right thing at the right time and inspire employees and other stakeholders to do the same. The three most important characteristics of ethical leadership are making decisions that not only will benefit themselves but will benefit others, motivation, and communication.

When making a decision, most people would chose to do what is going to give themselves the greatest personal satisfaction. An ethical leader; however, will take into account how their decision is going to impact all others and serve the greater good. John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, is a leader who encompasses this characteristic. Mackey started his business for three reasons-to have fun, make money, and to contribute to the well-being of other people. (Jones, 2010) The company's mission is based on it's members' collective responsibility to the well-being of the people and groups it affects, its stakeholders. (Jones, 2010) His strong view on ethics has not only benefited stakeholders of the company but also generated high profits. (Jones, 2010) . Mackey takes into account all the stakeholders of the company as appose to just generating a profit for himself and the shareholders. He is leading his company in an ethical manner by looking out for the greater good.

An ethical leader must affectively communicate the values and ethical standards of an organization while motivating individuals to uphold to these standards. They must also inform employees of the necessary steps to take if an ethical issue arises.

Instead of leaders just creating and distributing an ethics policy and the company's values, they need to take the time to explain the guidelines. A good way to achieve this is to conduct formal and informal training in group settings or through online classes.

The most important way for a leader to communicate the values and ethical standards of an organization is to motivate others by setting examples and acting as a role model. In her 2004 article, Smith states that as an executive or manger, serve as a mentor and model to teach others about values-based decision-making. When appropriate, share with your organization some of the ethical dilemmas you have faced on the job and the decisions you have made, especially when these decisions involved doing the right thing rather than what was profitable or expedient. When employees see a leader behaving in a way that is upholding the ethical standards of an organization they are more inclined to behave in a similar manner.

Many leaders today are faced with the difficult challenge of not only managing an organization or a team but doing so in ethical manner. Leaders need to always take into account how their decisions are going to affect others



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