Building an Ethical Culture (Part 5)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Leaders are in a unique position to make ethics a priority through their everyday actions, but simply modeling ethics isn’t nearly enough. Here is a starting list of 5 actions leaders can take that move organizations toward an ethical culture – these go well beyond just telling people how important ethics is and demonstrating it in everyday behavior and choices.

5 Ways Leaders Can Build an Ethical Culture

1. Expect respectful, ethical behavior, and quickly correct behavior that doesn’t measure up

2. Make it safe for people to talk about the ethical grey areas they encounter in their work 

3. Talk about the organization’s values, ethics expectations and industry ethics codes 

4.  Give people the opportunity to practice making good ethical decisions

5. Talk openly about the ethical decisions you are making, and why they are so important

Why is proactively making ethics a priority so critical? Leaders protect the character of their organizations. They set the example that others follow.  They have the responsibility for creating a ripple of ethical behavior, choices, and conversations throughout their organizations.

Forward-thinking leaders embrace this responsibility to protect the character of the organizations. When they talk openly about their own efforts to make ethical decisions, they also magnify that learning on an organizational scale.

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership  

© 2009 – 2023 Leading in Context LLC

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