Ethical Leadership Examples

Ethical leadership is often used as an example of every fundamental style of leadership. The leader is often seen as a moral compass for their team and as the leader goes, so will the team. It is a sustainable leadership style that often leads to great success because the elements of teamwork and sincerity are emphasized and rewarded.

Do you practice ethical leadership? Here are some examples of ethical leaders for you to consider.

1. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

In 2011, Schultz made headlines because of his desire to get his fellow CEOs to stop donating to political campaigns until the government could be run as a sustainable entity. Instead of debt spending, Schultz wanted to see the government begin to live within its budget, just as any other business is forced to do. He also hosts regular conversations with people to find out how to solve problems in his business and the country in general and has been a leader in create job growth programs so that small businesses could benefit from micro-lending.

2. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

For a long time, Hsieh saw that money equated to happiness. After selling his company in 2009 and getting that money, he realized that this just wasn’t the case. When he transitioned into his role at Zappos, he started working hard to make sure that his customers and his employees were as happy as possible. His goal is simple: to help people find their own passions and then find a way to turn those passions into profit.

3. Casey Sheahan, CEO of Patagonia

Ethics is often equated to the human condition, but this outdoor wear CEO also knows that there is an ethical component required to take care of the environment as well. To that extent, Sheahan created an Environmental Grants Program that has donated over $20 million to conservation causes over the last 3 decades. He has also led his company to donate 1% of their annual gross sales to promoting global conservationism.

4. Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express

Family has always been important to Chenault. As his father used to tell him, the only thing that is under a person’s control is their own performance. He leads by example with his work ethic and does the right thing – even at the expense of the bottom line. A classic example of this occurred in 2001 when American Express donated $1 million to the families of employees of the company that were lost in the tragic events of September 11.

5. Dan Amos, CEO of AFLAC

What makes Amos unique is that he allows the shareholders of the company to vote on his compensation plan. He’s overseen donations of over $50 million to cancer care and blood disorders for pediatric treatment while guiding the company to profitability that is 10 times the amount of when he first took over the reins.

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