Trustworthiness and Ethical Stewardship

Topics: Leadership, Business ethics, Management Pages: 5 (1187 words) Published: May 8, 2013

Learner: Anderson, Leona M.

MGT7019| Dr. Jennifer Scott|
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Ethics in Business| Leadership: Trustworthiness and ethical stewardship|

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Leadership: Trustworthiness and ethical stewardship
Leona M. Anderson
Dr. Jennifer Scott
Northcentral University
March 8, 2013

Leadership: Trustworthiness and ethical stewardship

The problem to be investigated is whether different leadership styles affect stakeholder trust and performance in business. No matter what profession a person may choose, there are leaders present. Leadership styles and behaviors are crucial parts of being a successful leader. Being a successful leader also requires: understanding what leadership is, common behaviors, the different styles, and their impact on the mission to be accomplished. There are many different definitions of what leadership is, depending upon the person being asked. However, Peter Northouse (2007) simply defined it as a process of influence over a group to achieve a common goal (as cited in Bello, 2012, p.229). This definition does not necessarily describe a positive leadership behavior or style, for example, Hitler influenced the Germans to eradicate the Jews, through his autocratic and charismatic styles, in order to form the perfect society. Since 1948, the U.S. Army has taught its leaders that there are three major styles of leadership. These styles are: authoritarian or autocratic, participative or democratic, and delegative or free reign (U.S. Army Handbook, 1998). However, there are also several other styles discussed in literature, such as charismatic, situational, transactional, and transformational. What is important, as far as leadership style is concerned, is that most successful leaders use a combination of styles based upon their beliefs, values, and preferences as well as societal culture and norms (U.S. Army Handbook, 1998) Kouzes and Posner (2012) identified five practices (or behaviors) of effective leaders. These practices include: lead by example, share a vision of the future, challenge for change, empower others; and show appreciation for individual excellence. Kouzes and Posner (2012) best summarized leadership, in my opinion, when they stated “Leadership is about relationships, about credibility, and about what you do.” Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is a subjective concept which is perceived by an individual towards the person to be trusted (Caldwell et al., 2010). This perception is based upon three primary factors, ability, benevolence, and integrity. Wasserman (2006) described trust as an individual, emotional and inherent feeling of a person (cited in Mostovicz et al., 2011). I grew up hearing, “Trust is something that must be earned and maintained with actions, not just words.” Wood and Winston (2005) explained that leaders who are trustworthy and accountable earn the trust of others (cited in Caldwell et al., 2010, p.500). Therefore, using this adage, a successful leader must be considered trustworthy by exhibiting behavior which earns the trust of his followers and peers.

Leading by example is an act that many could classify as being trustworthy; one that Bello (2012), Kouzes and Posner (2012) all identified as a practice or characteristic of effective leadership. Ethical Stewardship

Ethical stewardship has foundations in both the stakeholder theory and the governance theory (Caldwell et al., 2008, p.154). However, it is also associated with other leadership theories, such as agency theory, principle theory, and...
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