Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Leadership and Ethics

As an executive coach I often get asked what makes a great 'ethical' leader. The answer always depends of course. At www.coaching-coaches.com we are often asked to produce them as much as define them. Of 462 executives who were asked, "What characteristics are needed to be an effective leader today?" 56 percent ranked ethical behavior as an important characteristic, followed by sound judgment (51%) and being adaptable/flexible (47%).

(Source: American Management Association, New York)

Interesting statistic this one. Not surprisingly it has gone up since ENRON and WORLDCOM fiascos. Executive coaching as a profession also developed significantly at this time. But being an anthropologist also my question is whether how ethnocentric this is? Would the same figures come out in different parts of the world and given that leaders are leading in international roles more frequently how 'shared' is their ethical behaviour and what happens where ethical systems collide. In much of the west we are proud of what we see as transparency in business and corporate process and operations and leaders have to legislate strongly. But in many other countries family ties and 'blood' are seen as sufficient or 'better' ways of deciding who should be a leader. I am not saying that one is better - though for obvious reasons I prefer the former - but that they are very different. How are 'ethics' judged and behaviour decided with respect to this potential conflict?

1 comment:

Eshan said...

Nice post. Ethical leadership is that individuals who need to end up leaders who have any kind of effect need to grasp an internal journey of honesty and make an external responsibility to the benefit of all. Thanks!!!