Habits of Strong Ethical Leaders*

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We believe that ethical leadership is based on holistic thinking that embraces the complex and challenging issues companies face on a daily basis. Ethical leaders need both knowledge and experience to make the right decision. Strong ethical leaders have both the courage and the most complete information to make decisions that will be the best in the long run. Strong ethical leaders must stick to their principles and, if necessary, be ready to leave the organization if its corporate governance system is so flawed that it is impossible to make the right choice. A.Ethical Leaders Have Strong Personal Character

There is general agreement that ethical leadership is highly unlikely without a strong personal character. B.Ethical Leaders Have a Passion to Do Right
Archie Carroll describes the passion to do right as “the glue that holds ethical concepts together.” Some leaders develop this trait early in life, while others develop it over time through experience, reason, or spiritual growth. C.Ethical Leaders Are Proactive

Ethical leaders do not hang around waiting for ethical problems to arise. They anticipate, plan, and act proactively to avoid potential ethical crises. D.Ethical Leaders Consider Stakeholders’ Interests

Ethical leaders consider the interests of and implications for all stakeholders, not just those that have an economic impact on the firm. Ethical leaders have the responsibility to balance stakeholder interests to ensure that the organization maximizes its role as a responsible corporate citizen. E.Ethical Leaders Are Role Models for the Organization’s Values If leaders do not actively serve as role models for the organization’s core values, then those values become nothing more than lip service. F.Ethical Leaders Are Transparent and Actively Involved in Organizational Decision Making Being transparent fosters openness, freedom to express ideas, and the ability to question conduct, and it encourages stakeholders to learn about...
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