Also, virtue ethics must ensure that the leader acts in the best interest of those who he represents, works with, and works for. However, this does not suffice in order to implement an effective leadership style.
In addition to this, the leader must be surrounded by individuals with similar ethical behavior. This would help the leader to achieve ethical responsibilities. Also, it would make it easier to observe any unethical conduct from the leader.
As mentioned above, there are also different levels of ethics, like mandatory and aspirational ethics. The lowest level of ethics, but not the least important, is represented by mandatory ethics. This type of ethics refers to compliance with the law. In this case, things are clear. All individuals, especially leaders, must respect the law.
Aspirational ethics refer to the effects and influence that leaders' actions have on others. The first people leaders influence are represented by the people they work with. They further influence the targeted segment that the organization in case addresses. This way, leaders can have a global influence.
One of the most efficient ethical leadership models is considered to be P4 or PPPP. This ethical leadership style refers to the following aspects: purpose, people, planet, probity or honesty.
In this case, purpose stands for profit. Non-profit organizations can use purpose instead of profit. However, this does not mean that this leadership style addresses each of these aspects separately. This leadership style aims at achieving the organization's objectives by referring to all these aspects at the same time, in the most ethical manner (Chapman, 2009).
In other words, the success of leadership derives from achieving profit related objectives while taking into consideration the requirements of people, represented by employees, customers, community, with significant consideration for the planet by sustaining the environment, and by acting with probity, meaning acting in an honest manner. Basically, probity ensures that ethical principles are respected by the leadership.
Leaders must do the right thing, compared to managers that focus on doing things right. This is the general difference between leaders and managers. This is also how the ethical responsibility of the leader can be summarized.
In conclusion, the ethical responsibilities of leaders must rely on the following aspects: autonomy, beneficence, nonmalefience, justice or fairness.
Autonomy means that the leader should others to make choices on their free will. Autonomy not only has ethical implications, but it also helps develop decision-making abilities of individuals. Leaders should take into consideration this aspect and help people they work with to make better decisions without influencing their free will.
Beneficence consists in promoting the well-being of others. By definition, leaders work with others, for others. They must devote themselves to the well-being of others. They must be loyal to this principle throughout their activity. They must make proof of their determination in this direction. This is another difference between leaders and managers (Moore, 1996).
Nonmalefience consists in the avoidance of harming or creating risk factors for others. It also means that leaders should not exploit others in their personal interest. This is a very important ethical responsibility of a leader. The leader should set an example in this case, which would determine others to follow the same attitude. This is how leaders have the power to influence others, directly and indirectly.
Through justice or fairness, leaders implement equal fairness and equal treatment for all individuals. Discrimination is an issue that is present on any organization at ant level, regardless of the degree of development of the country in which the organization activates. The phenomenon is also very difficult to diminish. This means that leaders have an even greater responsibility of setting an example to be followed in this direction.
Most theoreticians and practitioners have agreed upon the fact that it is the leader's responsibility to set the ethical tone in his organization (Markkula Center, 2008).
The aspect of leadership ethics is more important than it may seem at the first glance. In a survey conducted among 462 executives, 56% of them considered that ethical behavior is the most important characteristic required for being a successful leader, more important than sound judgment, and adaptability (Signature, 2001).
1. Chapman, A. (2009). Ethical leadership, decision-making, and organizations. Retrieved May 13, 2009 from http://www.businessballs.com/ethical_management_leadership.htm.
2. Moore, R.D. (1996). Ethical Responsibilities for Leaders in a Pluralistic Society. U.S. Department of Education, Educational Resources Information Center. Retrieved May 13, 2009 from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/14/91/07.pdf.
3. CEOs: Setting the Ethical Tone (2008). Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/business/ceo-ethical-culture.html.
4. Business Ethics (2001). Signature Inc. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from http://home.att.net/~coachthee/Archives/BusinessEthics.html.
3. Power of leaders
One of the central elements that significantly condition the contents and results of motivation is represented by the power that leaders have on their subordinates within the organization. Although it is not visible, power is a major ingredient in motivating employees.
There are several definitions of power. Therefore, Finkelstein, and also Hickson, Lee and Schneck define power as the ability of a person to exert and impose its will (Hickson et al., 1992) S.A. Snell and J.W. Dean define power as the ability of a person to determine the accomplishment of certain objectives in the manner they want them to be accomplished (Snell & Dean, 1992).
Generally, by the term power, in the context of organizational management, one refers to the ability of an employee, owner, or any other stakeholder to influence the decision-making process, the actions and behavior of other members of the organization in accordance with his will.
In other words, the greater one's power the greater its influence. The leader has the power to implement his vision on superior level on the vision of other people involved in the processes in case.
In order to understand power within the organization it is essential to understand the sources of power within the organization. Leaders' sources of power can be individual and organizational.
Individual sources of power include: the power to reward, the power to punish, the formal position, personal charisma, authority of knowledge, the desire of power, the ability to harmonize processes, trust in self and in personal idea.
Individual sources of power derive from leaders' individual characteristics and from their position within the organization.
The power to reward is based on leaders' right to control the process of rewarding certain bonuses within the organization. The power to punish is based on the leader's competency to initiate and apply punishments on the organization's employees when they do not follow the rules or do not do what it was established for them to do.
The leader's formal position within the organization derives from the perception of the organization's members have on the fact that the leader was invested in order to exert influence on others.
Personal charisma can also be a source of power. It derives from individual abilities and from the leadership that the leader is naturally able to exert on others.
The authority as an expert in a certain field is reflected in the leader's influence on his subordinates.
The personal thrive for power is also called by certain specialists the need for power. It usually consists in the manifesting an intense preoccupation for obtaining managerial power in terms of sustained effort, and energy, although it is not always a visible process.
The ability to harmonize decision and actions of other people is based on the ability to provide arguments for points-of-view and on the ability to persuade others.
The trust in self and in the sustained idea is a condition of the influence that a leader has on other people. Practice has revealed that trust in one's self and in the promoted point-of-view is perceived by others as having a major role in determining them to participate in the action in case and to conform to the approach in case.
Organizational sources of power include: resources controlled in the organization, formal competency, the ability to solve problems that involve risks and uncertainties, the position held within work processes.
Organizational sources of power include elements of the organizational system and managerial situations of high importance for the organization that grant the leader a relatively high power of influence over other people.
Control over resources probably represents the most important factor of power in general. The more directly a person controls resources like money, employees, equipment, energy, information, the greater the influence. From this point-of-view, leaders have the greatest control over resources, as they decide upon the allocation of resources.
Leader's authority or formal competency is another organizational source of power. It consists in the decisional rights of the leader within the organization. Usually, leaders have the greatest authority compared to other managers. Their authority can only be exceeded by the authority of owners or more important shareholders that hold the power over financial resources, which fuel the organization in case, contributing to the influence of these stakeholders.