Effective and Ethical Leadership
Page 2. Throughout the evolution of modern business, leaders have strived to be effective and profitable. However, due to unprecedented business scandals throughout the past decade, strict adherence to the principles of business ethics has become more prominent and expansive than ever before. In light of scandalous and unethical business practices, as exuded by Enron and WorldCom for example, business leaders and governing agencies realize the importance of ethical behavior. Although there is not a clear cut or standard set of attributes that constitute an effective and ethical leader, there are several common aspects that can be identified.
The most important attributes of an effective and ethical leader are trustworthiness and accountability. Employees must feel that they can trust their managers in any and every situation. Team members must believe that a manager has immaculate intentions for the well-being of the project and the team. Employees will work harder towards the goals of the organization as well as towards the goals of individual assignments if they feel that management is looking out for their best interests.
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Team members should not look at business management as an entity of oppression.
Employees should be able to approach managers without intimidation or prejudice. In other words, workers should feel free to address concerns and express opinions. Experienced front line workers are more privy to minute details regarding the daily operations of the business. A worker that trusts his or her superior is more likely to express opinions and concerns that can enhance business activity or correct errors. Employees that trust the management of the organization will be more willing to work diligently towards the company’s goals.
Employees that do not have a trustworthy management team can suffer from a reduction in morale. Overall, a lack of trust leads to a distant and less productive work environment. Page 3. Another equally important attribute of an effective and ethical leader is accountability. Effective managers should not be afraid to admit when they are wrong. Even the best managers make mistakes. In essence, a manager with a strong ethical track record will be able to address tough questions with realistic answers.
Transcending departmental and hierarchal barriers, accountability promotes communication throughout the entire organization. For example, after years of slumping car sales coupled with rigid hierarchal divisions, Ford Motors decided to embark in a new direction with Alan Mulally as CEO in 2006. Throughout its century of existence, Ford “developed a very tall hierarchy, composed of managers whose main goal was to protect their turf and avoid any direct blame for its plunging car sales (Jones 2010). Even the COO Mark Fields stated that “at Ford you never admit when you don’t know something (Jones 2010). ” New CEO, Alan Mulally, diligently worked to demolish the communication barriers between the divisions of production and to develop new ethical norms. For instance, he instituted weekly meetings where department heads were encouraged to openly share problems. Mulally promoted a new culture that was more accepting and open about mistakes. Moreover, sharing all aspects of production information through a universal lens can help to promote decreased production costs on a company-wide level.
Organizations will prosper under a management that promotes and radiates accountability and trustworthiness. Employees are more prone to open lines of communication with trusted superiors. Managers that can accept responsibility for errors while co-piloting new plans of attack on pertinent issues can help to eliminate unnecessary depletion of organizational resources. A corporate culture that is built upon these attributes will be poised for future success. Page 4. Works Cited Jones, G. R. (2010). Organizational Theory, Design, and Change (6th ed. , p. 14). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.