Ethics Paper

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Lucila Sanchez
MPP 540/ Prof. Maitland

Transformational Leadership and Utilitarian and Duty Ethics alongside Justice Theory Morality: A Model for Ideal Ethical Leadership in Public Policy

The greatest responsibility that leaders in public policymaking have is to serve the public. The public constitutes not only those who elect a leader, but anyone who’s lives could be affected by the decisions made by that leader. These decisions may have lasting impacts on future generations and across borders and so necessitate a leader who has a conception of things as they are today but also as they could be in the future. Therefore, to serve the public to the greatest degree possible, the ideal ethical leader must embody certain leadership skills to enable him or her to work more effectively with those around them. The ideal ethical leader should also embody certain ethical and moral philosophies to make sure that the actions and/ or decisions that he or she takes are not in his or her interest, but in the interest of the public and in improving the lives of those they serve. Additionally, the ideal ethical leader should work in a collaborative effort when possible to ensure that policy decisions are balanced. Moreover, the ideal ethical leader should follow a transformational approach to leadership with sentiments of both the skills and situational approach to leadership along with a utilitarian and duty perspective on ethics and moral philosophy grounded on justice’s theory concern for those least privileged in society. A leader who follows these leadership skills and ethical and moral philosophies will be more apt to make decisions that are not based on any personal interest, but in the interest of those whom he or she is ultimately responsible to – the public.

Leaders in the public arena are elected to serve by citizens because citizens believe that they possess a distinct quality that will allow them to succeed in leading others. The main quality that people look for when electing a leader for the public arena is the ability to inspire others to do good work. Thus, transformational leadership is ideal because it is not only what people want to see in a leader – someone who posses qualities of a leader who has influence on others – but also because in trying times like the ones we currently live in, people want a leader who will inspire and empower them to succeed despite the many obstacles that surround (Northouse, 2007, p. 175). People look for a leader who will be able to inspire those who would otherwise fall in the face of disaster, a leader who would not be passive when decisions and leadership are needed. Transformational leadership is also ideal because it is “concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long term goals and includes assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings” (Northouse, 2007, p. 176). Transformational leadership promotes leadership that takes into consideration the needs of others and is not intolerant of opposing views, which is essential for a leader to be fully responsive to a diverse public who have needs. Being a transformational leader alone is not ideal because as a public service agent, which leaders in public policymaking essentially are, an ideal leader must be able to deal effectively with changing situations and so should encompass aspects of a situational approach to leadership.

Being a leader in public policymaking one needs to be prepared for unexpected events or change of events, local, national or international, in which their leadership style should conform to the change in order to surpass it. A transformational leader who is already apt at working with opposing viewpoints and motivating others to do better work will be able to transition better in times of unexpected change if he or she also takes into consideration how others around them are dealing with a situation and offering stronger leadership or less...
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