How Coaching Facilitates Ethical Leadership

Coaching can play a critical role in the ethical leadership that you demonstrate and advocate in your company. Ethical leadership is about your own level of honesty and integrity. But it is also about your role as leader in helping employees make ethical decisions.

Why is ethical leadership important?

Daily we see examples through-out the world of questionable ethical leadership. Corruption, conflict of interest, personal scandals, etc. are common. There seem to be different sets of rules for CEO’s and executives in some companies than for the rest of the staff.  Ethical leadership is progressively becoming more of a challenge as previous structures crumble.

Furthermore there seems to be a lack of transparency within some companies. A select group is often enriched at the expense of other employees.  There are various examples of CEOs taking decisions that are not always in the best interests of the company as a whole.

A senior marketing and sales executive commented that it is very obvious that their board is making business decisions that are solely in the best interests of the board members. The latter are not the slight bit interested in the welfare of the broader community. The executive feels the board’s ethical leadership is very low. He finds this very demoralising.

A team will sense when their leader lacks integrity. This leads to a culture of distrust and suspicion. Trust is further compromised when impulsive decisions are made with little thought of the longer term impact.

Leaders with doubtful ethical leadership often feel entitled due to their position within the company. They feel company rules do not apply to them or that the rules can be bent.  Some leaders like to surround themselves with “Yes” men and women who are unable to stand up to them. As a result the leaders may get away with unethical behaviour. “Yes” men and women are easy to manipulate or coerce into keeping quiet.

How coaching can help

Coaching enables you to explore your inner moral compass. It is your own value system that determines the extent of your ethical leadership. Coaching assists you to increase your level of self-awareness. It helps to determine what drives you in life. Is it your need for recognition, status, money, being part of a group or doing what is best for everyone?

Highly ethical leaders measure their decisions on the long term impact their decisions and actions will have on future generations. They are driven to do what is in the best interests of everyone, not only a select few. This means that their decisions are not ego driven. Instead they see themselves as being of service to a larger group of people.

Guard your reputation

In essence ethical leadership is all about your reputation. What is your intention when you interact with other people? Do you have their interests at heart or are you using them to achieve your goals? Do you truly care about people or are they a means to an end?

Ethical leadership is about taking a stand. It is about standing up for the values you believe in and living them. So it is crucial that there is congruence between what you say and how you act. Sometimes it takes various life experiences and living with the outcomes of our decisions for us to change our ways. Inevitably inner conflict regarding your values will affect your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

If you would like to review some difficult situations impacting on how your feel about ethical leadership you may value an opportunity to talk these through.

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Posted in Business Owner, Leadership.