The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 28, 2014

Are you an ethical leader?


— Provide training. Managers and employees should be provided with training on the types of ethical dilemmas they may face, such as with customers or employees. This can enable them to practice how to respond to these possible issues in a way that supports the company's ethical codes. In addition, training on how to interpret the firm's standards is a good idea to avoid later confusion over interpretations.

— Inspire trust. As expert and author Patrick Lencioni noted in his bestseller, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team," the fundamental base of an organization is trust.

When people trust each other, they can focus on getting the work done, asking for help when they need it, and solving business problems. They do not need to spend energy manipulating others, worrying about being mistreated, dealing with harassing employees, etc. This trust starts at the top — when an organization's leader is reliable, is willing to admit mistakes and is trustworthy, subordinates have confidence in leadership. Ethical leaders recognize that by leading by example this creates an environment that fosters productivity.

— Enhance workplace relationships. Ethical leaders understand that all employees must be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their rank in the organization or their demographics.

They know that their work environment must be safe and free of harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, and bullying of any kind. They further know that there should be fair and equal opportunities for promotion, and that they should encourage employees to pursue training and development opportunities to advance in their careers. They also know that employees are more than just workers — they have lives outside of work that need to be considered in order to keep them healthy.

— Illustrate transparency. An ethical leader realizes subordinates watch him or her closely to decide how to act. The leader makes decisions carefully and communicates them in a timely fashion, encouraging transparency in issues that impact employees rather than secrecy or gossip.

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