"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

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Ethics and Leadership?

Ethics and leadership both seem to be abstract and ambiguous—so imagine what happens when we discuss ethical leadership. Ethical leadership is not about how to lead to reach specific goals, but what ethical affects leadership has. Ethics aren’t morals themselves but the meaning of moral ways and actions. Ethics don’t decide, nor do they take decisions away. They serve as a means of guidance—to find answers, make decisions, and know how to justify them.

    Leadership is about those who are in a position to make decisions; create opinions and attitudes. It is more then just managing. Because leaders have to lead by example, their words, actions, and values play a huge role in their success. Responsibility and credibility are two of the most important elements of leadership; each is deeply based on the interaction with others. Because every action, even the smallest, has an impact, ethics are always part of the decision-making process. Ethics are not a cookbook for great decisions. Leaders know that every decision has to be carried by responsibility and credibility. To be recognized as a leader requires exuding trust. Remember that for many the values and ethics of the leader have to match their own understanding of those.

    To understand the impact of ethics, it’s important to ask the right questions:
  1. How do we implement corporate social responsibility?
  2. How do we select and support employees while achieving the business goals?
  3. What core competencies does a business need to stay successful? How do those bind the people?
  4. What values do managers need to keep the worth, responsibility and future compatibility of the business?

    Today’s leaders have to understand what is needed tomorrow if they want to implement the necessary changes to keep the business running. Successful leaders are smart, responsible, and ethical. They’re expected to:
  1. Take responsibility and delegate.
  2. Continuously work on the vision and goals of the business and follow those.
  3. Support shareholders, stakeholders, and suppliers to help them grow and stay within the vision and goals of the business.
  4. Implement valuable, clear and responsible business solutions, either with or without the team.
  5. Design smart teams with responsible team players.
  6. Support employees to be themselves by bringing back the fun, and understanding diversity.
  7. Change the rules (when necessary).

How much can a leader learn by looking at those who have chosen to be unethical?

    If you look only at the mistakes others made without trying to understand why they happened, you will learn almost nothing. It may be hard to believe, but often those who behave unethically think of themselves as perfectly ethical and responsible. It’s a matter of how they interpret values. They may be wrong, but remember that values do change over the years and sometimes people make errors of judgment out of ignorance rather than lack of conscience. It is a fine line to walk.


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