Monday, June 23, 2008

Developing a reputation for ethical leadership

Moral person and moral manager: How executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership
Linda Klebe Trevino, Laura Pincus Hartman, Michael Brown.
California Management Review.
Summer 2000. Vol. 42, Iss. 4; pg. 128, 15 pgs

Moral Person + Moral Manager =A Reputation for Ethical Leadership

These ideas about a dual pillar approach to ethical leadership are not brand new.

Chester Barnard addressed the ethical dimension of executive leadership sixty years ago. Barnard spoke about executive responsibility in terms of conforming to a "complex code of morals" (moral person) as well as creating moral codes for others (moral manager).

Moral managers recognize the importance of proactively putting ethics at the forefront of their leadership agenda. Like parents who should explicitly share their values with their children, executives need to make the ethical dimension of their leadership explicit and salient to their employees.

Many executives are uncomfortable talking about ethics and wonder about those who do.

The Hypocritical Leader

A leader who is not perceived to be a strong ethical person but who attempts to put ethics and values at the forefront of the leadership agenda is likely to be perceived as a hypocritical leader who "talks the ethics talk" but does not "walk the ethics walk."

Cultivating a Reputation for Ethical Leadership

Given the importance of ethical leadership, we offer the following practical steps executives can take to cultivate a reputation for ethical leadership.

Share Your Values: Who You Are as an Ethical Person

Assume the Role of Moral Manager. Chief Ethics Officer of Your Organization

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