Ethical Leadership A form of leadership in which individuals demonstrate conduct for the common good that is acceptable and appropriate in every area of their life in called Ethical Leadership. In simple words, ethics is doing the right thing. By modeling the right behavior, you can inspire your employees to achieve more while acting responsibly.

Ethical leadership is defined as "leadership that is directed by respect for ethical beliefs and values and for the dignity and rights of others." It is mainly concerned with moral development and virtuous behavior. Ethical leadership necessitates business leaders to exhibit appropriate conduct both inside and outside of the office. They demonstrate good values through their actions and words. Ethical leaders set the example for the whole of the company by showing integrity and doing the right thing, even in cases when doing so may not be beneficial to their businesses.

Ethical leadership is composed of the following major elements:

Be a Role Model

One of the noble qualities of a leader is to lead by example. As it is well known that actions speak louder than words, people often judge others based on how they act, rather than what they say. Ethical leaders earn their respect by demonstrating ethical, honest, and unselfish behavior to their peers. People more likely to follow those leaders who show respect and integrity rather than those that are disrespectful and selfish.

Be A Champ of Ethics

Focusing on the importance of ethics, ethical issues and standards, and the effect of these factors on society is an important role of an ethical leader. The ethical leader teaches subordinates about ethics and inculcates ethical values in them, mostly in cases where an ethical issue arise at the workplace.

Communicate Well

Being a good communicator is one of the traits of a successful ethical leader. People working in a team may have different ways of communication, some may feel shy while others feel comfortable while speaking in public. It is the responsibility of an ethical leader to communicate with each team member and also provide an environment where all the team members' concerns could be heard and addressed. Quality relationships tend to be built on trust, fairness, integrity, openness, compassion, and respect.

A positive and productive relationship between individual, team, and overall organization can be established by ethical leaders. Below we will discuss some of the important aspects of how to become an ethical leader.

1. Define & Align Your Values

Who you are and what matters to you as an individual is a huge factor in the way you lead your employees. Honesty, integrity, fairness, concern for others, accountability, and reputation are some of the core values of an ethical leader. It is important for a leader to define their core values and align them with their priorities as a leader by demonstrating these values through their behavior, actions, and decisions. High ethical standards and moral concepts can be mastered by taking ethical leadership certification or joining training programs. What’s learned should be practiced in your day-to-day activities and decisions as a leader.

2. Listen to Your People

Managing conflicts is a tricky thing, and it’s a daily challenge among managers and executives. Some employees may be shy or afraid to speak, especially if it involves someone with a higher role within the company. Ethical leaders are concerned with the welfare of all the employees at the workplace, and they provide a safe environment for everyone to report unethical behavior or practices. It is important to observe privacy during conflict resolution.

3. Have a clear code of conduct.

Managing people with different skill sets, backgrounds, personalities, and morals is never easy. Having a clear code of conduct helps employees understand all the ethical standards that the organization implements. Regular leadership training and clear discussions about common ethical issues have to be conducted. A clear code of conduct will be a foundation that can be referred to while addressing issues arising in a highly competitive and rapidly changing business environment.

4. Make the Workplace a Safer Environment for Employees.

Employee’s trust is most important to the success of a leader. The employees who trust their managers tend to be more productive and satisfied at work. Ethical leadership inculcates trust and respect between managers and staff, unlike unethical leadership that violates moral values, and infuse unethical conduct in employees. If you are able to build employee trust in you, you will be able to depend on them to work their hardest, building employee engagement and loyalty to the company. Abusive supervision, toxic leadership, and supervisor undermining are the actions that pull down employee morale, causing distrust and result in the employee leaving the company.

5. Be Consistent

Ethics require consistency. Consistency builds the team’s trust in you because they know they are being treated respectfully without bias. Ethical leaders are looked up to because they are known that they treat everyone the same with respect. To be consistent, you must apply the same moral standards to one situation that you apply to another unless you can show that the two situations differ in relevant ways. Proactive and consistent ethical leadership can improve employee engagement.

Ethical leaders establish a positive environment where everyone respects each other and adheres to the organization’s moral standards, and regards transparency and proper values, and this paves the way to overall organizational success.