Ethical leadership theories involve a certain level of leadership authenticity. Instead of being one person at work and another person at home, the theories of ethical leadership say that the best leaders are the same person no matter where they happen to be. To achieve this, communication and transformation become important parts of the equation.
It all begins with the approach of the leader. Under traditional leadership theories, the focus is on the traits and skills that the leader displays on a daily basis. Under ethical leadership, the emphasis is placed on the traits and skills that the followers of a leader are able to display on a daily basis. What else do the ethical leadership theories bring to the modern worker?
There Has to Be a Common Good
The ethical leadership theories believe in the individual. Not only is there a sense of collaborative leadership, but there is also an emphasis in working towards the common good. It goes beyond just material well-being and feelings of fairness. There must also be opportunity.
In ethical leadership theories, opportunity is defined as using morality to achieve justice. In order for morality to succeed, there must also be a level of education employed on the front lines as to what higher-level morality is. This is completed by incorporating values of tolerance and integrity so that every workplace is able to achieve honest outcomes.
There also is a higher level of individuality. When authenticity is included in the conversation about ethical leadership, then there must be an allowance for each leader to be able to go their own direction. Bias has to be removed from the equation. It must be replaced with a greater awareness and situational processing that allows others to feel empowered to make their own ethical choices. The successful ethical leader will empower their people while aligning themselves with the values of their organization.
Transformation Must Also Be Part of the Equation
Ethics must also involve transformation today. Without intellectual stimulation and some level of motivation, the average worker is just going to work hard enough to meet their own needs. The ethical leader must be able to show their team how buying into the values of their organization also has personal value on an individual level. The goal is to see that an overall change can also positively affect the current status quo.
Maybe the best aspect of all in the modern ethical leadership theories is the concept of questioning everything. When all things are tested, assumptions are removed from the equation. This means decisions are based on facts and observations instead of interpretations. This allows leaders and teams to find more success because facts replace personal opinions.
Ethical leadership theories offer everyone the chance to find higher levels of success. Although personal morality is defined at an individual level, a team of individuals can also have a collective morality. It is this collective morality that the leader hopes to influence, and in return, bring more collaborative success because everyone feels like they are contributing in their own creative ways.