In 25 plus years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great executives that possess leadership ethics whose characteristics separate these individuals from the rest. One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. Few have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in proper ethics.
Individual Business Leadership Ethics
In today’s turbulent world, leadership ethics are present at a number of executive managers who devote their time and energy to leading the process of value creation. It is this part of an individual that inspires others to follow.
We see character as the summation of an individual’s principles, values, and core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life. If character is the summation of our principles and values, then leadership ethics are the application of them.
Business Leadership Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root “ethike,” formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit.
Leadership consultant and author Linda Fisher Thornton in her book “7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership” (2013) stated that “ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in their organizations behave and what they achieve,” Thornton said. “Effective leaders focus on what’s right and exemplify to their people that they are there to help, and not to exploit the vulnerabilities of others.”
Business Leadership Ethics Training
Leadership ethics training in business emphasizes understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. In the business development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics, and their application. One example is Lockheed Martin, where annual training starts at the very top of their organization. Chairman, President and CEO, Marillyn Hewson, trains her staff who themselves then train their respective teams, and this pattern continues until all employees have participated in a training session facilitated by their manager.
At NextGen Global Executive Search we use a proprietary recruitment model, the Leadership Vault, that measures the values, motivations, decision making and risk-taking traits, relational and interpersonal communications skills, and ethics. At the end of each search we customize a custom mentoring and onboarding tool for the new hire. It is used by clients to assess the new hire assimilation into the role and culture, optimizes the ability meet the Performance Objectives, retained longer, and strengthens his/her leadership ethics.