— Ensure compliance with ethical standards. After policies are clear, an ethical leader needs to monitor employees to ensure compliance with the standards. Employees need to be encouraged to not only follow procedures, but also to report ethical violations. Then actions should be taken to punish violations and reward compliance. When a leader uses rewards and punishments to help ensure appropriate behaviors, employees are less likely to engage in unethical behavior and less likely to have relationship conflicts with co-workers.
We need to do our part to ensure that our leaders are ethical. As Mahatma Gandhi noted many years ago: "There are seven things that will destroy us: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; religion without sacrifice; politics without principle; science without humanity; [and] business without ethics."
Russell is the vice dean and the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience coaching executives and consulting on leadership and career management.