Senior Leaders: Set Clear Expectations For Values

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Senior leaders set the tone for an organization’s ethics, but the responsibility for values leadership includes much more than that. Today, I’ll look at the senior leader’s responsibility for sharing clear expectations, and explore other important roles that go well beyond just setting the tone for expected behavior.

Setting Clear Values Expectations

What top leaders do typically becomes the accepted norm for behavior in organizations. So senior leaders need to do much more than keep themselves on the right side of ethics. They also need to ensure that values consistently drive the engine of the organization.

“Few companies set clear expectations for senior executives on ethics and compliance,” stated the LRN report. “Unless senior leaders regularly insist that business decisions incorporate company values, the correct tone at the top will never be set.”

Ben Dipietro, LRN

Championing the Use of Ethical Values

In a previous post, Critical Roles of the (Ethical) CEO, I wrote about these important senior leader roles: Ethical Leadership Role Model, High Level Trust-Builder, Champion For Ethical Values, Ethical Prevention Advocate, Highest Leader Accountable For Ethics, Accountability Consistency Monitor, Ethics Dialogue Leader, Ethical Decision-Making Coach, and Ethical Culture Builder.

The roles I’ve named include many different approaches to setting and monitoring expectations. They show just how broad the responsibilities of senior leaders are when it comes to ethical leadership:

Advocate

Model

Monitor

Guard

Catalyst

Communicator

Coach

These roles include a number of functional categories that require different skillsets. Take a moment to ask yourself this important question – “Are your senior leaders ready?”

                                                                                                     

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