5 Factors Ethical Leaders Control

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical leaders can’t really “control” organizations, but there are specific things they can do to bring out the best in themselves, others and teams to move the organization forward. Here are five things ethical leaders can and should control to have a positive impact on the organizations they lead.

Five Factors Ethical Leaders Control

1. Their Awareness

2. Their Mindset and Thinking

3. Their Decision Making

4. Their Interpersonal Behavior

5. Their Ethical Choices

While this list may seem obvious at first, think for a moment about the last time you had a negative interaction with a leader. What happened? In that interaction, which of these five things did the leader fail to manage and take responsibility for? And take a look at your organization’s leadership development. Does it guide leaders in how to manage each of these five important factors in successful and ethical leadership?

Connected and Interdependent Factors

These elements ethical leaders control are all connected and interdependent. If moral awareness is lacking, interpersonal behavior and choices are more likely to be unethical and problematic to the organization. If a leader’s mindset is too narrow, ethical decision making will be too narrow. If a leader is demonstrating toxic interpersonal behavior, there is likely a problem with self-awareness and other-awareness, and a problem with the leader’s mindset about what “good leadership” involves.

Each of the five factors builds on the one before, and the whole structure depends on a firm foundation of ethical awareness. The leadership outcomes we generate depend greatly on how well we manage these 5 elements. If they’re managed ethically, the outcomes may be positive, but if they’re not, the outcomes may lead to more harm than good.

Leadership Outcomes

To learn about what happens when all of these elements are well managed, see Is Your Leadership Net Positive? and Are You Leaving a Positive Legacy (10 Questions Across 5 Dimensions)? To learn about what happens when one or more of these elements is mismanaged, see Ethical Failures: What Causes Them? and Unethical Leadership.

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership


© 2009-2023 Leading in Context LLC

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