By Linda Fisher Thornton
What do ethical leaders do, and why do they have such a powerful positive effect on people? And on an organizational scale – What can be the long-term impact of inspiring groups of people to greatness and ethical behavior?
The Leading in Context Manifesto is a statement of what ethical leaders do – It emphasizes the importance of respect and care, and helping each individual become their best:
“We improve lives and organizations. We understand that interpersonal ethical leadership is fueled by respect, care, service and inclusion, and that those things transform our organizations. We know that our role as leaders is to bring out the best in a connected group of unique individuals working toward a shared vision. We honor and respect people, and lead without blaming, controlling or judging. We provide opportunities for each individual to use natural talents and learn skills in pursuit of our mission. We treat everyone with respect and care. ”
Improving Lives and Organizations
What is the “transformational magic” that results from proactive and intentional ethical leadership? A collection of leaders, each working to be their best, and seeking to bring out the best in others, has a powerful ripple effect. It builds trust. It improves performance and increases job satisfaction.
I remember clearly what it was like to work for an ethical leadership team when I was just out of college. I started at the bottom of the organization, but you would never know it by how I was treated by the organization’s leaders. They treated everyone in the same cheerful, caring, supportive way, which made us each want to give our very best work. They balanced productivity with ethical choices, guiding us to do the same. We worked hard, had fun, and were a highly productive, high-trust team. When there was a job opening, I knew that my skills and talents would be recognized and considered, regardless of which position I was currently in (in my case, the very bottom level of the organization).
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work for ethical leaders early in my career. When I started leading others in my early twenties, I worked hard to bring the high standards held by those early mentors to my own leadership.
What could be the long-term ripple effect of your intentional ethical leadership?
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