Ethical Leadership

Leading Lotus Ethical Leadership

The word leader is misleading. If you are a sailor on a mountain or a mountaineer on a sailboat, will you be leading any differently?

“Are leaders born or bred? Does it matter?”

What defines a successful leader? Is it the title “head poncho? Is it the fearlessness?  Is it the successful results produced? Is it standing up against bullies? Google says a leader is “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.” Good luck with that. The younger generation did not grow up commando style, generally speaking of course.

In reality, there is no one formula for leadership. Most companies have performance management and human resource standards that force fit their employees into a standard leadership mold, and then feed them into a small-sized pipeline.

Honestly, the one critical quality a leadership mind should have is the ability to confront the waves of ethical & moral undertones on a daily basis, many of which may not break policies or law.

How do you advance an organization with your values still intact? How do you, as a leader, handle the many different “faces” of ethical conundrums (or disruptive office politics) and still make the right choices? Choices that will make you go home and sleep well at night. Choices that will let you spend time with your family at peace, and not be distracted that something you did in office is not sitting well with you. How do you avoid the types of choices that make your gut churn because they are in direct conflict with your values?

These are the challenges of a modern-day leader, a modern-day warrior, and a modern-day champion. To do the right thing and not fall into the pressure of “showing the money” to the board, is the hardest thing to do. Showing value that does not come immediately with bottom-line or top-line impacts creates havoc in our decisions.

The ethical undertones facing your inner leadership

The most common failing of leadership is often ignorance. Ignorance of what is going on in their organization, mainly. Truly and sadly, ignorance is bliss.

You can’t fight what you can’t see and you can’t change what you can’t talk about.

Leaders that want positive change, firstly need to be honest about the company direction and their intentions at the topmost level. Even in disastrous times, never lip service about the “fineness and dandiness” of a situation that is fast becoming the topic of social media or the laughing stock of the Fortune 500 world.

We as consultants have a never-ending list of case studies that should help prevent the repetitive nature of unethical leadership pressures. Yet, companies continue to manage ethics and conflicts like a “check in the box” program.

“Lead like a Mormon, guide like a Yoda, execute like a Ninja.”

Let’s talk about the Mormon way of ethical living, excepting the religious beliefs of the Latter-day Saints for this article. The characteristics of the Mormon society is commendable for not only taking care of their own but also helping other communities in need. A community that strengthens itself has much more capacity to grow and help others.  The practice of cooperation among the Mormon people and sharing the benefits makes their community strong and withstand the political calamities of these days. Bloomberg estimated in 2012  that the Mormon Church has $40B in wealth. That’s impressive for a non-mainstream religious institution.

Similarly, guide like Yoda. Who doesn’t want his still water calmness when being invaded by the Trade Federation. And lastly, execute like a Ninja with crystal clear mind and precision that would wipe out your competition in a single swipe. Idealistic or unrealistic?

Ethical leadership defines and catches the undertones

Leading Lotus developed a program identifying four types of ethical conundrums facing leadership and employees today.  Advancements in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, big data analytics and detached communications confront us with conflicting facts, unproductive biases, defensive silos in the workplace, stalling progress and causing conflicts. This methodology analyzes a company's leading positions and its leadership pipeline against a criterion of “Seriousness” and “Transparency” of morally challenging behaviors, that can spell disastrous and costly outcomes. This program has been used in business schools for undergraduates to easily understand ethical leadership.

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© October 5, 2018, Leading Lotus LLC. All rights reserved.