In the recent years, ethics has been an issue in leadership positions. In order to create a strong ethical based environment, it is important to have an appropriate leader and leadership integrity. Ethical leadership, leadership integrity and trust will be further discussed in this essay. Ethical leadership is being perceived as both a moral person and moral manager (Trevino & Brown 2004). Leadership integrity is defined as a leader with integrity where integrity is concerned with leaders’ behaviours in consistent with personal values (Storr 2004).
Ethical leadership is the ability to lead the followers with respects of their dignity and rights (Mayer et al. 2012). Followers will perform ethically with the lead of an ethical leader. The different elements of ethical leadership are leader’s personal values such as integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, behaviours, and their decision making process (Trevino & Brown 2004). The way leaders act and how their actions influence the followers also contributes to ethical leadership. According to Trevino and Brown (2004), ethical leadership is not all about individual’s character, integrity, honesty and fairness. It is believed that a leader’s personal values will influence not only their own behaviour, beliefs, decision making process but also the followers’ (McCann and Holt 2009). It is also a combination of being perceived as both moral person and moral manager. The leader must be able to lead his followers to perform ethically.
Being perceived as moral person, which is a person with good character (Trevino & Brown 2004). However, it depends on the followers’ perception of the leader’s person traits, behaviours and decision making process. Ethical leaders are usually known as leaders who are honest and transparent. In order to have a good relationship between the leader and his followers, trust, respect and support from the followers is essential. Being honest is one of the traits as a moral person (Freeman & Stewart 2006). Honesty does not mean that the leader has integrity. The leader may not be acting ethically but is honest with his acts. However, to be a leader with integrity he has to honest to his followers. Honesty is another factor of being an ethical leader, followers will then be able to rely and depend on their leader. Hence it is important to have leadership integrity to be honest to his followers. Being perceived as a moral person, the leader will tell the followers what he will do instead of telling them what he expects them to do (Trevino & Brown 2004). The leader has to be aware of his behaviours, whether he is doing the right thing and aware of his followers’ rights and feelings. In the decision making process, the leader have to be objective and fair to all of his followers. The leader must be concerned with the impacts of the decision made (Roundy 2010). It is important for the leaders to make decisions alongside with the ethical decision rules which require integrity to do so.
Table 1 shows the combinations of moral person and moral manager. Besides being perceived as a moral person, it is important to be perceived as a moral manager too. To be perceived as an ethical leader, one has to be strong on both moral person and moral manager (Trevino & Brown 2004). Table 1: Executive Ethical Leadership Reputation Matrix (Trevino & Brown 2004)
As a moral manager, one has to be a visible role model of ethics and holds a set of solid ethical standards (Trevino & Brown 2004). Being the role model, the leader will then gain its trust of his followers if he is consistent in what he says and perform the act as he said. A moral manager’s behaviours influence the followers’ behaviours and thoughts. The Social learning theory established by Rotter (1975) proposed that behaviour has an impact on...