Ethics and Leadership in today’s society


In the era when everyone is contesting on the issues of corruption the key to having an ethically run organization is employing morally upstanding leaders. “It begins with ethical leadership; ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in their organizations behave and what they achieve.” (Thornton 2013). It is believed that continued success of any organization is hinged on its ethics and traditions.

According to Merriam-Webster’s, ethics is “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. Leadership and ethics relate closely because leaders are influencers. What leaders do create a ripple effect in the organization which they lead. Thus leaders who want to be successful must employ ethical standards in all aspects of their organization. Ethics is such a core area of any organization.

Areas which raise ethical issues.

  • Compensation
  • Promotions, redeployment and transfers.
  • financial integrity
  • Conflict of interests
  • Investment policies
  • Accountability
  • Strategic management
  • sexuality and relationships at work place
    • The list is endless

What should leaders do to remain ethical in such situations? In various spheres of life it is left to the leaders to lead people to the land of peace in the face of these old age problems. There are many sources of help in this. For Christians the Bible remains an important tool for negotiating these murky waters.

Ethics and the Bible

The Bible posits that Scripture was given not only to reveal God’s way of salvation but also to train us in righteousness and equip us for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:14–17). Ethics is concerned with the way we ought to conduct our lives, the bible has principles, teachings, commands, warnings, guidelines, and counsels that are intended to steer our lives toward that which is right, good, and God-honoring.

Why leaders need to be ethical.

  1. Leaders are the role models on ethical issues. – Employee takes cue about appropriate behavior from those on the top.
  2. Leaders should communicate ethical expectation.- create an organizational code of ethics
  3. Leaders should promote effective financial management- this will create an open way in which financial issues are dealt with.
  4. Leaders should face the complexity involved in making ethical choices– this can be done by openly discussing the ethical gray areas and acknowledge the complexity of work life.
  5. Leaders should not separate ethics from day-to-day business– makes ethics an everyday activity.
  6. Leaders should not allow negative interpersonal behaviors to erode trust: Make respect a load-bearing beam in your culture. Be an ethical leader who expects it and practices it.
  7. Leaders should not think about ethics as just following laws and regulations: They must prove that they are committed to ethical issues, including human rights, social justice and sustainability.
  8. Leaders should not exempt anyone from meeting ethical expectations: Allow no excuses. Make sure that no one is exempted but all are accountable. No exceptions.
  9. Celebrate positive ethical moments: Be a proactive ethical leader, championing high ethical conduct and emphasizing prevention.



Christian leaders have a higher ethical threshold in all situations. When called upon in other daily lives they should always remember that. Their role is much more than just a personal practice of ethic. They should:-

  • Set a moral tone for the organization.
  • Crate an ethical culture for all those under them.
  • Treat others in an ethical way and expect the same from all without exception.


Thornton L.F.( 2013)7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership (Leading in Context) Richmond, VA.USA.

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