Formal leadership roles bring with them certain ironic aspects–leaders typically have more information, resources, and power than others, placing them in a position of undue advantage relative to their followers. Leadership ethics explores the relationships between leaders and followers and gives those in leadership roles tools to raise their awareness about the inequities inherent in their position and to consider what actions a leader can take to bring ethics forward in organizational life.
Ann Skeet, senior director of leadership ethics, has developed a leadership model that encourages users to think of their leadership as a practice. The model is useful for those who are looking to enhance ethics in an organization. It is available for free as both an Infographic and video.
The model shows that leadership happens on a continuum from the personal to the formal, and elements combine to render the impact a leader can have. The cornerstone of the model is personal—“being” by living one’s character and values. People in leadership positions further their influence by how they model their character and values to others, moving from “being” to “doing.” In addition to modeling character and values, leaders can also reinforce ethics in their organizations by creating community, encouraging ethical conduct, playing their position, clarifying culture, and designing systems that reinforce the use of ethics in decision-making.