An effective and excellent leader has many skills, both recognized and unrecognized. He or she is a problem solver, the person who encourages others to act on decisions that he or she thinks will benefit the whole, instead of just one person. He or she is sensitive to the needs of others, and he or she makes sure that when faced with a difficult decision that he or she is just, fair, and ethical.These decisions are usually very difficult, and sometimes many people or communities rely on a quick, decisive, and right action. Leaders are not always the popular person. Sometimes he or she makes choices that others do not agree with, especially when ethics comes into play. Ethics can be debatable, depending on many factors. It takes a strong person to go ahead and make leadership decisions, because the responsibility is not only in the action of dealing with the responsibility of the now, but taking on the consequences of every choice associated with that decision in the future as well.
Excellent leaders have a code of ethics that are beyond exceptional. However, someone who thinks he or she is a leader because they can bully others, has a code of their own ethics that includes a personal gain. So, a real leader has a code of ethics that is honest, caring, and above all is for the greater good of all. Excellent leaders have passion just like bullies, however, the drive behind that passion is different. A personal code of ethics includes a positive experience and a positive outcome for all who would be affected by the decision.
A highly effective leader is an individual who understands that the decisions he or she makes must be filtered through a system that includes the pros and cons, the ethical intent of the choice, if the choice is moral, and a balance system that holds the base ethics to the highest possible standards to ensure that there is the least amount of harm done to everyone and anyone involved and only the highest amount of good. This is very difficult sometimes, however, each leader will face challenges that push his or her ethics to the edges of the personal framework of ethical boundaries. Building a framework for these boundaries is essential for a leader.
According to Management Advisory Service, in the article about ethical leadership, “Ethics is concerned with moral values established by, and applied within, all types of communities, including organizations.” ("Code for Ethical Leadership", 2016) This means that moral values are based on what is right and wrong within the framework of an organization, individual, group, or culture. Creating a personal code of ethics is essential if the individual wants to be an effective leader or just a very great person. ("Code for Ethical Leadership", 2016)
The ability to make the right choice does not come naturally. Children must be trained in fair, just, right, compassionate, honesty and integrity. Not every child is blessed with parents who teach these virtues to them. This is a set of standards by which an individual, group, company, or cooperation lives and operates by. Ethics is a code of behavior that helps us all decide how to act in a myriad of situations. Children are taught a set of general ethics about how to get along with other children, how to behave in school, and how to get along with family members and neighbors. However, sometimes these lessons are difficult to remember, so these codes or the framework for how to act in public is repeated over and over until the child understands the consequences for his or her behavior. These lessons stick with most children throughout the school years and into adulthood.
Most of the time, these foundational framework ethics allow everyone to get along just fine, and are the basis for society to progress and thrive. A strong ethics foundation framework is what separates leaders from followers, in the corporate world. That does not mean that every leader in business will have a set of ethics that provides for the greater good, however their ethics are usually based on what is good for the business.
Parents do their best to teach their children a good set of morals and ethics before sending them out into the world. Some parents rely on society to teach these lessons to their children, and those children end up not having the skills to become a leader. However, these skills can be taught, if an individual is willing to learn. The code of ethics for living in society is extremetly complex and takes a lifetime to master, especially in the United States where boundaries of belief are skewed. Not all religions have the same ethical framework, just as not all societies agree on what is right and what is wrong. These have to be sorted out by the individual. Sometimes that individual needs help figuring out what those socially acceptable ethics are. According to an article at Brown University, “Ethics is sometimes conflated or confused with other ways of making choices, including religion, law or morality. Many religions promote ethical decision-making but do not always address the full range of ethical choices that we face. Religions may also advocate or prohibit certain behaviors which may not be considered the proper domain of ethics, such as dietary restrictions or sexual behaviors.” (Brown University, 2016). This means that although a religion means well, it may or may not be ethical for all of society to ad hear to those standards. Typically, what works in one religion is not tolerated by another, so this way of choosing an ethical standard for society is not accurate. Therefore it is best to look to the standards that the law of the land have out together, to base a decision on. Of course that does not always mean that the law of the land is necessarily correct such as legalizing the beating of another person based on his or her gender identity, but most of the time the laws do make sense and it is up to the adults to show children how to behave under those laws.
A personal Framework for a code of ethics is built over time. The individual will draw his or her list from life experience, friends, family, society, and religious or spiritual sources regardless of affiliation with that belief system. A personal ethical framework is something that an individual will use when no one else is around, not just when that individual is within earshot or view of others. An individual ethical framework will be that individual’s reputation and become a lasting part of the first impression that others get when they meet him or her. I remember my grandmother telling me to always behave like I am on stage and that everyone is watching my every move, except when going to the restroom, that is where the privacy is. That idea has stuck with me for my entire life, and I am sure that it will still be there when I am old. That idea is one of the parts that led me to think about what my own ethical framework is and how to put it into words.
My personal code of ethics has been partly due to my parents, who are exceptional leaders in their own fields. Partly due to my older brother who has military experience and is a leader in his unit. Part of the framework for my code of ethics is based on my own version of spirituality.
My parents raised all of their children to have a deep and sincere love for life. Not just our own lives, but the lives of every living thing on the planet. There were moral values that went with that, like the unjust killing of innocent lives. Not in the anti-abortion way, but like going out to the woods and killing small animals with no intent of consuming them. We were not allowed to have a toy gun or sticks resembling them. The quote “Guns are tools, not toys,” is stuck in my head and sound like the voice of my father and mother, and sometimes my grandparents. This moral value turned into part of my own ethics in the form of not harming anyone or anything intentionally. I feel bad if I run over a squirrel.
My brother’s military expertise has affected my moral values and ethics because he is a leader and has taight me that leaders are not quitters. When the problem seems to tough, it is okay to ask for help in the decision making process, but the first thing to do is think about the lives and families of everyone you are in charge of and make sure you can look them in the eye with integrity at the end of the day. I guess it comes down to moral integrity. That is a key to all of the ethical framework that is my own personal code of ethics.
My own spiritual outlook at my ethics foundation is built on a respect for all living things. As a leader, this means that even when I disagree with someone else, I find a way to see their point of view and find a mutually beneficial solution that honors each person involved. That may mean learning how to compromise, but that is okay because leadership has more to do with leading by example than it does taking a position of always being in charge.
Ethics is a foundation of right and wrong. That means that sometimes things that seem wrong are actually the right thing to do. Controversially, things that seem right are actually the wrong thing to do. This may sound confusing, however, I will explain. Overall, I believe that killing another person is wrong. However, if there is a situation, such as a person with a gun who threatens to shoot up a store, then he actually shoots at a police officer, and the officer shoots back, I do believe that in that case the killing of the shooter was justified and not wrong. However, I do not think that war is justified. In this case, personal safety is important but war is not. That code of ethics may sound wrong to some, but it makes sense to me. War ends up killing people who had nothing to do with the original political argument that started the war in the first place. In this case, I would say that killing is not justified and those who are arguing need to figure it out in a more civilized manner than sending my brother to kill your brother because of someone else’s argument.
The ethical framework that I live by is basically to be honest, care about each other, and share abundance with my fellow human beings. There are several steps that I go through to figure out if something is ethical. (1) First, I stop and think about the choice. I ask myself if something is legal, illegal, will it hurt myself or will it hurt someone else? (2) Second, I think about the consequences of that choice and what the intent behind that choice is. (3) Third, when researching my choice, I ask myself if the source of that information credible. (4) Fourth, I look at other options before settling on just one decision. (5) I consider all of the possible consequences, both good and bad. (6) Last, I choose the best possible choice based on all of the aforementioned factors and am usually very happy with the outcome. ("Human Relations 1.0 | Flat World Education", 2016) However, I must mention that those steps were engrained in me from a very early age. I had to search for material for this paper to find it online.
Those steps help to guide the framework for outstanding ethics. An excellent leader needs to own his or her personal ethical framework as the standard by which he or she lives. For example, there was a poster that I saw once that said, “The 12 steps to an ethical decision” It was based on the 12 step method ("Ethics Without the Sermon", 1981) and was in a classroom where I attended a class that was unrelated to leadership. However, I spend a large amount of time staring at the poster and considering the implications of the message. Overall, it impressed me so much that I copied it down.
The poster asked if the problem was defined accurately. Accuracy requires that an individual take a few steps back, disengage emotionally from the situation or problem and look at it for what it is, not how you feel about it. The problem could be that the lake is polluted. Then the posters ask the individual to assess his or her emotions if he or she were on the other side of the problem. Using the polluted lake as the problem, the other side of the issue may be difficult to see. Seeing an issue from the other perspective is important in making solid decisions as a leader with ethical values. Next, it is important to evaluate how the issue started in the first place. This requires the ability to disengage emotionally and see the foundation of the problem or issue. For example, instead of complaining about the dirty water, find out why and how it is polluted. This is one of the keys to great journalism, the old school kind. After all of the facts are in place, next it is time to decide if you have to give your loyalty to someone or something else. Maybe your loyalty is to the planet, or an organization, then it is time to take a look at the issue and focus on your personal intentions that are behind the decision you have to make. Perhaps your decision is to get the lake cleaned up, a monumental task. It would be important to find out who is responsible for maintaining the lake. The state, county, city, or country is responsible, so you have to research to find out who to talk to in order to get things started. After your intentions are in place, the next step is to look at the probable results and see if they are in line with the intent of your decision. Part of that is asking yourself if anyone will be hurt in the process and if you can discuss the issue with the people who may be affected by the decision. Perhaps there is no money set aside for cleaning up the lake. It would be important that the people who are responsivle for polluting it, were to clean it up, but unless it is an industry the likelihood of rounding up every polluter is very slim, so the intent would be to find out how to fund a clean-up project. Then it is time to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are confident in the position and if the answer is a good long term solution or not. In the case of the lake, the importance would be on how to keep the lake clean in the future, after it is clean. The next step is to ask yourself if your decision is able to be disclosed with your boss, family, and society as a whole. Cleaning up the polluted lake is a social issue, so the problem need to be shared in order to get anything accomplished. Many problems are like that, however, some are not and then it is a tough choice. Then double check to see if there are any loopholes that allow someone to misunderstand the decision, in other words, be clear. Then look at what exceptions to this decision you will allow and what would the boundaries be for those. ("Ethics Without the Sermon", 1981)
My personal questions for my ethics framework start with asking what is the issue. Not only is it important to identify the issue, it is important to weigh the issue against any similar issue that may have already been solved with an effective solution with honesty, integrity, and a loyalty to the earth and all living things. For me, those are essential ethics, but they cannot be based on feelings. For example, according to the Santa Clara University, “Some ethicists emphasize that the ethical action is the one that provides the most good or does the least harm, or, to put it another way, produces the greatest balance of good over harm.” This would imply that the greatest good is the intended result of any decision. This would mean that individuals, groups, clubs, or cooperate entities must look at the greater good when making ethical decisions. We know that is not always true. War is not good, but according to society the greater good is that by having a war, the bad people will be destroyed then the war is justified, even if innocent people die because of it. Ethical honesty in corporations means that as long as the stakeholders gain something, and society thinks that it is getting a good deal, then whatever decisions that corporation makes is ethical. This is the utilitarian approach to ethics. From my standpoint, it really does not seem so ethical.
There is the Rights Approach which states that the decision that is best will protect and respect the moral rights of those who are affected. This approach seems like a good idea. Included in this approach are ethics that allow each individual to have the right to make his or her own choices without interference from others, as long as those choices do no harm to others. This includes the right to hear honest things from others, to have privacy to a certain extent, and the responsibility to respect those rights in others. This approach includes no humans such as pets and farm livestock that are not kept for sustenance purposes.
The fairness approach suggests that any ethical action that us fair or just must include that all people are treated equally and fairly. This seems like what the fore founders of the United States Government had in mind when they created the constitution. This approach was first introduced as a philosophy by the Ancient Greeks. (Santa Clara University, 2016).
In addition to the fairness approach, the Greek philosophers also contributed the Common Good approach. This says that every member of a community deserves respect, compassion and the opportunity to contribute to the community. This also calls for every member of the community to look out for each other, paying special attention to the vulnerable. This is not the practice in large companies, certainly not big corporations. This approach would be wonderful if society lived this way and everyone had everything they needed to live a happy life because we all share.
When the ancients lived, they heled a concept of ethics which were built on virtues. They are a set of habits that allow each individual to become interdependent in a community without fear. These virtues are based on honesty, fairness, integrity, self-control, tolerance, patience, and so on. These are the virtues for a happy life. Honestly, this is how this writer lives life.
If an individual is able to use all of those approaches with life, then he or she would be a mighty leader. If that leader were able to teach those attributes through his or her actions, the world could become a better place. Perhaps Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Princess Dianna, and so many other fabulous leaders have tried to live an example of virtues and ethics but people seem to turn a blind eye to those leaders and let go of those lessons that would improve society by leaps and bounds. The world would be better off if everyone learned to share instead of greedily taking what they have.
It requires sensitivity to make good ethical decisions. Sensitivity to others, other life forms, and to the issues we all face in this life. One of the best ways to make good decisions is by having an ethical framework that can be checked off when faced with making a decision. If an individual has an effective ethical framework, he or she can practice it until it becomes a habit. Habits are hard to break, even good habits. According to the Santa Clara University, “Each of the approaches help us determine what standards of behavior can be considered ethical.” (Santa Clara University, 2009)
The difficult choices need a good checklist, or excellent ethical framework to make sure all the bases are covered and the end result is one that is iron clad or indestructible. Most big decisions will affect an individual in one way or another. The choices will also affect others. When an individual has chosen a method or ethical framework that he or she is comfortable with, and has practiced it over and over until it becomes habit, the decision making process will come naturally and almost immediately, which is a good thing in the modern, fast-paced world.
A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions | Science and Technology Studies. (2016). Brown.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from https://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions
Ethics Without the Sermon. (1981). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from https://hbr.org/1981/11/ethics-without-the-sermon
Human Relations 1.0 | Flat World Education. (2016). Flat World Knowledge. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/6531?e=portolesediashumrel_1.0-ch05_s03
Santa Clara University. (2009). A Framework for Ethical Decision Making - Ethical Decision Making - Ethics Resources - Markkula Center for Applied Ethics - Santa Clara University. Scu.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/a-framework-for-ethical-decision-making/