Table of Contents
Leader is a person that is recognized by other members of the group and has the right to make substantial decisions influencing collective interests and determine the direction and nature of the entire group or organizational activities. Talented leader inspires his followers. His knowledge and ability to assess others are always significantly higher than the same qualities of the people around. Leader’s moral integrity can be violated by the lack of self-control, anger, arrogance, loss of credibility, and destruction of reverse communication with the team members. However, methods such as extension of theoretical knowledge, improvement of moral standards, development of healthy self-interest in ethical decision- making, active participation in the working process, development of self-criticism and intuition can strengthen leadership skills.
Ethical Principles of the Leadership
Ethical principles are considered the most practical rules, which act as a guide to leader’s action. They can be reduced to a certain extent and still meet the ethical good. Management of any type of enterprise is based on six pillars that are defined as follows: trustworthiness (dependability, loyalty, honesty and loyalty to each employee); respect (a desire to reach a mutual understanding by accepting individual differences); responsibility (reasonable perfectionism in combination with self-control and foreseeing the consequences of actions); fairness (acting in accordance with the well-known rules and decision-making without self-exaltation); caring (altruism and minimizing difficulties where it is appropriate); and citizenship (legal work for the common good) (Mullane, 2009).
Any kind of leadership at an enterprise is identified by management functions. These functions include such management tasks as combining the interests of capital and labor – on the one hand, and the interests of enterprise system and its internal and external environment – on the other hand. In this case, assessment of leadership is based on the following criteria: solution of the current problem, objectives, and situation; and realization of each employee’s potential. Leadership strategies for optimization of each of these criteria is carried out within the framework of ethical principles.
The right to terminate employees in any case does not allow the leader to dispose them as he pleases. This principle follows the terms of an employment contract that covers individual positions, instructions and other documents regulating the work of an employee. In other words, termination of an employee while managing the labor process is not only economic and administrative issue, but the ethical concern as well. Sometimes an entrepreneur considers the right to use violence as a means of running his enterprise forgetting that employees are also the stakeholders of the company. The company is owner’s legal but not ethical property.
Ethical leadership takes into account moral principles of employees. It is ethically unacceptable to compel an employee to act against his conscience or punish him financially for his moral principles. Moreover, recognition of each employee’s dignity should be an essential requirement. If freedom and honor are not realized in the community, the control degenerates to ethically unacceptable labor fictionalization. Any organization that focuses its activities mainly on the management institutionalization is subjected to such danger.
Mutual esteem significantly affects implementation of the fair competition principle. The leader should have enough courage to challenge the personnel collectively. At the same time, each worker needs a successful and positive example to follow. Constructive provocations must be met by a response of colleagues, who are trying to prove that they are worthy of their leader. It can manifest in the conditions of the leadership strengthening and manager’s willingness to motivate workers. Thus, there is integration of management and subordinates in a single system that works for the benefit of entire organization following utilitarian principle, which assumes that actions of each team member are determined by the common good. In such circumstances, everyone thinks of their fellow neighbor and colleague as well as about the development of the case.
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Essential Threats to the Moral Integrity and the Effects of the Credibility Loss
Personal credibility of a leader stands at the heart of management activities. Violations of leader’s moral integrity lead to numerous problems that can threaten the well-being of entire organization. Integrity is an ethical concept that implies strict adherence to the principles of individual conduct, which creates a common moral and ethical system (Vargas-Hernández, De León-Arias, Valdez-Zepeda, & Castillo-Girón, 2012). Integrity is a key part of leadership. The loss of self-control may essentially threaten the preservation of moral impact. For this reason, anger is the most dangerous destructive feeling, which a leader may face. It dazzles and can lead to arbitrary decisions.
Arrogance is another ethical threat to the moral integrity. Manager must maintain his leader-image among equals, but not forget that he is a part of a team. Arrogance can lead to biased evaluation of a situation and the use of coercive methods when the working process is collapsing. It also provokes the leader to neglect workers’ needs, underestimating their achievements and personal features. The lack of regular contact with employees causes a loss of credibility, which is fraught with the following consequences: workers refuse to take an initiative or express their considerations and suggestions on organization’s work. A great leader is always ready to take criticism rationally. Thus, its absence as well as the lack of staff reverse communication should motivate the leader towards healthy approaches to management.
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Arrogant leaders tend to exhibit eccentricity and centralized decision-making not focusing on the well-being of employees. Such approach cannot be called moral. Ethical management always aims to minimize the harm and maximize the benefit for all (Monahan, 2012). Overconfidence deprives a leader of critical self-assessment possibilities that causes diminished obligation to support ethical virtues. Aforementioned threats result in moral degradation of a manager and destructive effects on the team integrity, which consequently affects the work of a company (Vargas-Hernández et al., 2012).
The Plan to Address Leadership Vulnerability
Position of a leader implies great responsibility. A manager must engage in self-development not only for own benefit, but to preserve the image of a company and guidance of employees. Riddance of the leadership vulnerability can be achieved through the following plan.
Prior to setting a goal, a leader needs to take stock of the current state of affairs. A leader should critically evaluate his actions and learn lessons from the mistakes. Thus, it is necessary to identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Then, it is appropriate to enrich professional knowledge through the study of management and communication theories.
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People constantly need to engage in theoretical studies, carefully investigate literature and use practical experience, which provides an opportunity to systematize the results of their practices. Experience of one person is always limited while the theory generalizes the experience of hundreds and thousands of people. The lack of theoretical knowledge causes blind replication of individual practitioners’ words and actions. Possession of the methods for theoretical analysis and synthesis allows a leader to adopt and apply the knowledge of others to solve creatively specific challenges that can be faced. Study of the theory gives an inspiration for creative thinking providing finality to all personal activities that border on art.
Improvement of the moral standards substantially influences ethical standards and directly relates to the expansion of the theoretical base. Considering the experience of other managers, a leader is able to dilate the boundaries of his understanding of morality and ethics, which allows making more informed ethical decisions based on moral awareness, judgment, motivation and courage (Lincoln & Holmes, 2011). Additionally, the knowledge accumulates in the subconscious mind and provides accurate predictions about the long-term prospects. The most gifted leaders rely on their intuition (Woiceshyn, 2011). Operating with vast amounts of information prevents them from re-examining every fact. Thus, essential thoughts originate in the depths of the long-term memory, namely, intuition. However, such thoughts may be more accurate than the obvious solution at first glance.
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The next step is the development of such quality as rational egoism, which is fundamentally different from the arrogance and self-confidence (Woiceshyn, 2011). A leader must be able to insist on his decision, which is possible only when justified. Therefore, a manager must take into account all the risks and benefits. Such ability may be inherent only to people, who do not miss the opportunity to learn from others and exchange ideas selecting and combining the best of them.
The decisive point of a plan is the critical assessment of leader’s utility to an enterprise. A manager is obliged to work together with his colleagues and control them while actively involved in the working process. The leadership competence can be judged not by claims but deeds only. People are skeptical about those whose protestations and smooth speeches are not supported with actions. Additionally, more efforts toward reaching the common good enable a leader to assess the work of employees more adequately. It will help perceive them as individuals and show personal attention that has always been highly valued by employees. Thus, it is possible to develop and strengthen the best leadership skills by executing this plan, which also helps avoid fatal mistakes in the organizational and team cooperation.
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A leader is a person who has excessive moral responsibility besides a wide discretion. He may be appointed for a position officially or lead the team only de-facto owing to his virtues and organizational skills. A leader has the following individual characteristics: self-confidence, sharp and flexible mind, thorough knowledge of the business, strong will, ability to understand the peculiarities of human psychology, organizational skills, aspiration to sustain a healthy competition, and respect for employees. Destructive impact on the moral integrity of a leader can be caused by negative emotions, ignorance of the interests and initiatives of colleagues, arrogance and egocentric decision-making. Strengthening leadership skills is promoted by the constant process of self-education, study of other managers’ experience, continuous contact with the team members, development of intuition and healthy egoism. Therefore, leadership can be determined as a fusion of art and hard work.