Yes I believe that the use of ethical behavior will pay off in the long run. I believe that the ethical behavior at work place is highly influenced by the leaders at workplace. We human beings are social animals and as a part of one of our basic instincts we like to copy people we admire and respect. So if the leader is transparent, truthful, self-sacrificing and shows the highest standards of ethical and moral conduct his followers eventually develop respect and admiration. If the leader believes that ethical standards and ethical commitment builds customer trust and winning with integrity is the key mantra to business success then his/ her employees will do as well. This is what will attract and keep the best employees in the company. The main proposition for the ethical behavior is that ethical behavior is concerned with “should” and “should not”, and implies that there is required by law or which are commercially a responsibility of, and depends on the leadership in an organization, that the argument has significant implications for corporate governance. There are well known difficulties’ in defining the term leadership and in specifying what is meant by ethics in the context of business behavior, difficulties which have been rehearsed recently in the Journal of business Ethics.
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While business ethics have always been important from a social and moral point of view, they also become a pragmatic requirement in the corporate Olympics. The doing- more- with less strategies place in even greater premiums on trust than did the adversarial protection, business practices of the traditional corporation. Some of the key characteristics of ethical behavior are: try to satisfy all constituencies, dedicated to high and broad purpose and also committed to learning in order to remain current and responsive to change which also tries to be the best at whatever they do. For example I would like to cite a story from my past experience in life. The principal of our school (ARMY SCHOOL) use to receive monthly salary through a cheque from the director general of the school committee. But once the principal received 2 cheques of the same amount for the same month. Being an ethical human being and a man of principles and values he returned the extra cheque back to the director general. Now many of his colleagues said that he should have en cashed the money from the extra cheque and should not have returned it. However the principal replied that it would have been unethical if he would have used it for personal use. A few years later the director general of the school committee had to appoint a secretary for funds department and was looking for a suitable candidate. So all of his colleagues and other principals applied for the vacant position. Out of all the principals of army schools throughout northern India he chose our principal. All his colleagues were amazed as they were more qualified that he was and had much more experience. However when the director general of the school committee asked replied that there wasn’t a better person than him suited for this job. Just because the principal was ethical and had high moral conduct, maybe he wasn’t rewarded at that time but if we look at it, in the long run he outlasted all of his colleagues and was rewarded a much higher position than all of them.
The same can be applied to the business as well. If one wants the business to survive and flourish successful one should have an ethical concern towards the customer, employees, shareholders and community. The customer always wants the quality of the product to be legit and want to be treated fairly while purchasing the product. Expecting the returns from the investments keeping the same standard of the growth within the business and maintaining the standard quality of the ethical behavior for the well beings of entire society. We learn from mistakes and we should be passionate about what we believe and I believe not matter what but we always learn from good ethical environment at workplace. Another advantage of ethical code is protection of company assets. A good example of high ethical standards in a company is when its employees protect the company’s asset and not misuse them.
Manager or the supervisor should take an active role in bringing awareness to all the individuals at the workplace of the responsibilities and expectations of the organization. Also he must set the standards at workplace for ethical code of conduct. He should make clear to the employees what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. On the other hand the employees should actively be aware and should have knowledge of the ethical code of conduct.” Management must demonstrate through consistent examples their personal alignment with ethical principles’ and values, their expectations that employees will do what is right and fair, their encouragement and support of open communication and candor within the organization”. Responsibility is another element which is combining to the moral ethical value. The sense of responsibility also comes from within. If one feels proud of the company he /she is working and is satisfied from the work condition, then the urge to work ethically for that company comes from within. One feels like taking the initiative to perform task. You don’t make excuses or hide your face when a task is assigned to you instead you make sure that the task is performed in the right way and feel like taking up the whole responsibility for the task. This is what we call as winning with integrity. And when an employee reaches this stage their actions become unrestricted and they perform far better than what is expected out of them. Being ethical is essential when it comes to problem solving and improving processes. In a work place it is always required to establish baseline measures and increase the efficiency. Also one should never be afraid of admitting mistakes. If you cover up your unethical behavior then, firstly its can affect our image and secondly it prevents us from growing as leaders in the long run. For example once a teacher gave an assessment to 2 students which was due in week’s time. Once of the student was hard working and honest and the other one was totally opposite but very clever at copying assessments. So the 1st student worked day and night to make the assessment however the 2nd student copied it from him and submitted it to the teacher before he could. After the assessment the 1st student got a zero and the 2nd one got 85%. When the teacher asked by the teacher for reason by the first student said the assessment was copied from the other student. But the hard working student didn’t give up because deep inside he knew that he was ethically correct and hadn’t cheated. At the end of the year when it came to the final exam the teacher gave a similar case study assessment. But the only difference was that it was to be finished in 3 hrs under his supervision. Now the 2nd student who used to slack of and never did any assessment by himself was dumbstruck and it was like the tip of his pen had almost frozen. He didn’t know what to write and how to conduct the assessment. However the 1st student who always prepared his assessments honestly just knew what to write and how to write. He completed the assessment and cleared the semester with good grades however the copy cat failed the exam and had to re-sit the exam. The moral of the story is again that if you believe what you’ve done is right and complies with your ethical standards then it will always pay you off in the long run. So in all to sum it up the higher the ethical climate the higher the profit of an organization. If one has to be ethical at work then he/she should ask the following 4 basic questions from him/herself which are being practiced at Rotary international:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build good will and better relationships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If you can answer these four questions accurately then you are in a position to act ethical at your workplace. Also being ethical means solving common problems at workplace which are generally:
- Human relationships
It is the duty of the leaders to understand them and make judgments. Finally it is our elders or leaders who pass ethics to us in many ways and if we learn from their experiences we will get to know that being ethical will pay you in the long run.
Ethical leadership is about all knowing your core moral values and having the ability and courage to live them in every aspect of your life for the betterment and upliftment of the common. I would like to throw light on the fact that ethical leaders are also human beings but the only difference between an ethical leader and a regular human being is the moral courage. Life is not perfect and we are not perfect. Everyone has his/her own moral sense. We have the ability to make choices (right or wrong), important to us, as we travel the path of life. Choices which we choose are basically based upon the personal set of values we have quoted as rules or principles for how we will carry out and live our life. Also the fact remains that all the choices are not necessarily ethical. But most of us know when such a situation occurs. But standardizing our actions through moral conduct is the right thing to do. Before we discuss our main topic of discussion i.e. impact of ethical leaders on the society I would like to say that:
“Whatever type of ethical standards we have accustomed for ourselves will always be with us 24 by 7. There are no other different moral conducts or ethical principles for business. We carry them with our personality”.
Leaders co-exist everywhere. Leaders are everywhere in every field. They are present in a family, community, workplace, school and represent the interests of the common good. Besides that they safeguard rights of their followers. Some nations who are pioneers in certain fields and dominating the world’s economy call themselves as leader but when it comes to sense of moral conduct they are not ethical.
Today, developments are taking place at a very rate but the standard of human life span is shrinking. The hunger for money and power has watered down the difference between right and wrong. We have designed a cob-web around us. Everyone wants to climb the ladder and reach to the very top even if it means pulling someone down and stepping on their head to do so. The harmful effects are noticeable in the environment around us, by chaos and increase in fraud, offence, contamination and social disturbance. Today the common masses have lost their trust in their leaders and blame them for their misery. For example in India, the population no longer believe that their political leaders are trustworthy. Most of the voters rate them low on ethical conduct and honesty. More than 50% of the subjects surveyed by JAGO (JAGO is a Hindi word meaning awaken or get up) India team on a campaign said that administration is literally making their lives worse.
Unethical behaviour and corruption has amalgamated with moral values so much that our new generation can hardly distinguish the two. We learn it at the basic level for e.g. at school, home and sports. So we can says that it is very much involved at every point in business among employees and employers both. People prefer the alleyway (shortcut) instead of the highway. To be equipped with ethically competency in today’s dynamic world we need to develop certain specific personal and social skills with a keen understanding of how to make well established flourishing economy while taking care of the world on which the life of the common mass depends as well.
As an Indian and as a fellow human being I would like to say this on behalf of the mass population. If for once our politicians and leaders:
- think for the betterment of the mass population and not their self centred interests.
- Exhibit legitimacy and veracity in their conduct
- Then they should not be scared of any hatred for their ethical practices.
In some situations when leaders may feel extremely stressed that they have to decide between personal Benefits or Ethics. If siding with the ethics will only earn you reputation, then that should be the only option.
Leaders need to be unbiased towards their followers and should favour what is appropriate. This will spread of a lot of operation in the organization, even if it means creating some opponents, too.
When no one is supporting the leader. They should act bold and adhere to the cause.
If our leaders just even implement few of the above mentioned points I believe this world would be a much merrier place to live in. Ethical leaders need to be for the people, by the people and should be conscious of how their decisions impact others. The leaders should have the sense of serving the people from within and should come with benign interests for the mass population. This way they can motivate their follower and show them what self sacrifice means. This implementation involves participation of both the parties towards common goals.
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Ethical leadership is very important in communicating in a business culture as well. While making a decision the leader should make such choice or decision which is good both for the people and the business as well. The leaders should have lucid ethical conduct of doing business and make these principles known to others in their circle clearly. They should convey their message through all channels on all the possible grounds (personal, professional and legal). This not only helps in gaining respect and admiration from the employees but also gives a peace of mind for oneself knowing that one have done right. Dealing otherwise will generate mistrust at both personal and professional level.
Ethical leaders should be truthful, see-through and trustworthy. For this very reason the world knows Mahatma Gandhi.
There are many people who want to restore ethical values in the society. But, having a larger section infected with the virus, it becoming difficult to stay ethical and lucid in this dynamic world. If ethical leadership needs to be reformed it needs to introduced at the top level first The leaders would need to demonstrate an example of ethical behaviour before their followers expect it from their leaders.
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