Ethical Leadership: Credibility, Vision and Relationships


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  • In the day-to-day operations of a business, all leaders are faced with ethical issues. Ethical issues range from determining which employees deserve promotions to more complex issues, such as serving a client with a potentially unethical request. Regardless of their complexity, all ethical issues that arise in the workplace should be carefully examined, and handled with care, as the determinations of these ethical issues can lead to the growth or demise of a company. Ethical leaders strive to incorporate ethical decision-making into every aspect of their business to ensure that their organizations reach optimal potential. In order to reach this optimal potential, leaders must maintain trust and credibility, influence others without creating a hostile environment, and strive to create a sense of community. The three areas of ethical leadership that will be discussed are credibility, vision, and relationships.
  • Credibility is the most important foundation of leadership. Credibility is directly related to the leaders character, his values, principles and morals. Therefore, for a leader to be credible he must posses a clear sense of his personal identity. Discovering ones principles and values requires meditation, internal dialogue, and the willingness to being vulnerable. Only then, can a leader move to a state of self authenticity that allows him to find himself, define what is valuable, and committing to a life long journey of personal integrity.
  • Please follow along in your participants guide, and take a moment to think deeply about the following questions:
  • How does one cast a vision? As CEO’s if you desire ethical leadership within your organization there comes a time when you must cast a vision that inspires and motivates your people. They must desire to get behind you. If you are a credible leader who is constantly building relationships with your constituents, then you will be able to inspire them to establish a vision for your company that aligns with your goals, their ideals, and establishes what is best for all parties. (Before we begin allow me to offer a brief example from my own experience about strategic planning and vision casting gone wrong. I served as an intern for a church in a small college town for two years. During this internship I was able to watch a pastor, who had been there for five years, attempt to establish a new vision for the church. He failed, miserably. There are several reasons why he failed: 1) He took too much ownership of the vision, people did not feel as though it was a collective effort, 2) He did not listen to the ideas of others but took his own opinions and elevated them, 3) The pastor established a plan, not a cause, and created steps not a growth process for implementation, and 4) His plan was not forward-thinking rather he could only see 2-3 years in the future, not what would happen once he leaves the pulpit. I realize you are CEO’s and CFO’s of large companies and the man I mentioned was a pastor of an 800 member church, but his example creates a classic “What not to do!” ) Kouzes & Posner, in The Leadership Challenge, give readers clear cut direction in casting and creating a vision. Remember that throughout the process of creating and casting a vision we should seek to be ethical in our motivation. Inspire do not manipulate. Envision the future and cast the vision for your companies in light of the common good.
  • In seeking to develop a vision for your company be future-looking. You are not your company and whether you like it or not your organization does not revolve around you. Consequently, you must establish a vision for your company that leaves a legacy behind. That is the essence of leadership! How are you setting up those who work under you to be in positions where they can be successful? If you are forward-looking you will be able to see ahead of the past and beyond today. POSSIBILITIES Time is of the essence in vision casting. Much can be learned from former experiences. Reflect on Your Past- What have you learned from former experiences that will guide you in leading today and into the future? Use former experiences to guide your present vocation and leadership opportunity. If we use our past to guide the future we can learn principles that will allow us to grow from our previous mistakes. Attend to the Present- Reflecting on the past does not mean that we live there. Many leaders focus too much on the past or are too forward-looking and forget that there are still things to take care of now. Attend to what is happening now and set yourself up, through discipline, work ethic, project completion, and allow your present actions to guide your future endeavors. Prospect the Future- What does the future look like? If you could create the ideal future how would your company function? Are you living in such a way as to remember the past without forsaking the present while looking forward to the future? Feel Your Passion- Do not be afraid of your passion. Allow your emotions to seep into your visionary guidance. People respond well to charisma but do not be overwhelming. Keep your emotions in check but do not fear the passion inside of you. People will respond, be open, be honest, be passionate.
  • Creating a vision is good but one must be able to integrate the ideals of others into their planning. How then do leaders finds a common purpose as they develop a vision and create a strategic plan? The first step involves listening deeply. What are your people say? Actively listen to others by asking intentional and purposeful questions, that will help you understand their ideals and desires. Through listening well a leader can develop greater credibility and a more apt understanding of those around him. After you have listened well, try to understand and determine the values of those around you. As you set the course for your vision there must be an underlying set of values and principles that guide your thoughts. If you seek to determine the values of others the vision comes under the ownership of everyone in your company, not just you. Establish a cause, not a plan. It will be much easier for others around you to buy into a cause rather than a ten step plan. As you create a vision make sure people understand the underlying “why.” Why does our company need to go in this direction? Why do we have to establish this new vision? Ask why and answer it through your vision statement.
  • Ask yourself these questions when developing a vision: What do I want to accomplish? How do I want to get there? What steps need to happen for this vision to be created and this company to continue on the right track? Once you answer these questions you are ready to visualize what you will do next on as you develop and implement your company’s plan. Make sure to ask those around you what they think and how they feel about the direction of the company. What do your constituents desire? What are their values, dreams, ideals? Seek to give ownership of the vision to others around you. You can involve others by connecting your aspirations and dreams with what is meaningful to others (values, etc.) and you can align your dreams with those of the people around you. Dream big! Your company can be unique and different. That is ok!
  • Conclusion An ethical leader is credible, practices good interpersonal communication skills in his relationships, and creates and establishes a vision that others can buy into and implement. Be forward-looking in your visions and enlist others to help you establish the direction of your companies. Leading well means placing others in a position where they can be successful. If you are establishing credibility with your people and engaging with them on an interpersonal level than you should have no problem enlisting others and gaining insight into what they value and desire. Listen to people and figure out their values and the underlying values of the company. Record those values and cast a vision.
  • In order for an organization to operate at its greatest potential, the members within the organization must feel a sense of affiliation and worth. Ethical leaders have the duty not only to show how valuable the employees are to the company, but also to create an environment where organizational members feel that they are valued by one another. Ethical leaders must also make organizational members aware of the values of the organization so they have an understanding of what the organization stands for, which is imperative if ethical issues arise down the line (Kouzes & Posner, 1993, p. 139).
  • While building relationships within the organization is imperative, it can sometimes be difficult to build meaningful relationships within the workplace due to the fact that all organizations have members with diverse, and sometimes competing, obligations, values, and ethics. However, these barriers can be overcome, through a collaborative vision, an emphasis on teamwork, and integrity at the core of the organization.
  • “ Enlightened communication enables [organization] members to establish positive bonds and make wise ethical choices… and includes comprehensive, critical listening, supportive communication, productive conflict management, and argumentation” (223). -Johnson One must remember that a solution can be found through mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of differing values. Rather than waiting for differing views to cause internal conflict, ethical leaders must proactively build a community within their organizations through shared values. This can be accomplished by advocating cooperation and building a consensus between organization members (Kouzes & Posner, 1993, p. 130-131). Building Bridges Organization leaders can apply Kouzes and Posner’s Unconditionally Constructive Strategy to help build a cooperative community. This strategy consists of balancing emotion with reason; trying to understand; inquiring, consulting, and listening; being reliable; being open to persuasion and trying to persuade; and accepting the other as worthy and worth learning from (Kouzes & Posner, 1993, p. 143). Through this process, ethical leaders get people to identify themselves as a group and set the expectation that they will share in some long-term benefits. Through the recognition of this interdependent relationship, organization members realize that as much as they need the organization, the organization and the rest of its members needs them as well, which strengthens the community and the organization
  • Ethical leadership is not a new term. But rather it is the discovery of an old process which values justice, fairness and truthfulness fundamental in all transactions. Companies who follow ethical leadership guidelines are more likely to remain in the long run, be more stable, deliver better profits to its stakeholders, and give better service to its customers. Therefore, we believe that to be successful in this new organizational age, leaders must be honest. They must have a clear idea of the present and future, and they must foster collaboration which will tap into the collective genius of the organization.
  • Ethical Leadership: Credibility, Vision and Relationships

    1. 1. The importance of credibility, vision and relationships Brown, Espinoza, Strawser COMML 511 Gonzaga Ethical Leadership
    2. 3. Meet The Team Name: Tito Espinoza Occupation: Business Consultant Company: Verizon Wireless Aspirations: To write a book and to record a CD of musical compositions. Marital Status: Happily married Philosophy of life: “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” – Jesus Christ
    3. 4. Meet The Team Name: Michael Strawser Occupation: Student Aspirations: PhD Intercultural Communication and eventually teach Marital Status: Engaged Philosophy of life: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
    4. 5. Preview of Points <ul><li>Ethical Leadership Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul>Please follow along the presentation with the participants guide
    5. 6. Ethical Leadership <ul><li>Ethical decision-making necessary for organizations to reach optimal potential. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical Leaders seek to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain trust and credibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Influence without hostility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a sense of community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Kouzes & Posner, 2003) </li></ul></ul>Today’s Most Admired Organizations display high levels of credibility, vision and relationships, both internally and externally
    6. 7. Credibility Doing what we say
    7. 8. Credibility- Knowing who you are <ul><li>Credibility arises out of the leaders identity </li></ul><ul><li>A leader must clarify values to posses genuine identity </li></ul><ul><li>- What do I stand for? </li></ul><ul><li>- What is important to me? </li></ul><ul><li>A leader must understand self first before attempting to understand others </li></ul>“ good ‘leadership’ cannot be reduced to technique; good ‘leadership’ comes from the identity and integrity of the leader” (p.10) -Parker J. Palmer
    8. 9. Credibility – Questions for reflection <ul><li>List your top 5 priorities in life </li></ul><ul><li>Do you feel any of your values need rearranging? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your goal in life? </li></ul><ul><li>If your house was burning down chose the 2 things you would take with you. </li></ul><ul><li>-What are they? </li></ul><ul><li>-Why those things? </li></ul>Please complete questions in your participants guide
    9. 10. Credibility- Its all about trust <ul><li>What do you value most in a leader? </li></ul><ul><li>Honesty </li></ul><ul><li>Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Competence </li></ul><ul><li>Inspiring </li></ul><ul><li>(Kouzes & Posner in a study to over 75K </li></ul><ul><li>employees around the world). </li></ul><ul><li>Trust is something you earn with hard work, and lose in an instant. </li></ul>“ Credibility is mostly about consistency between words and deeds. People listen to the words and look at the deeds”(p.47). -Kouzes & Posner
    10. 11. Credibility- Doing what we say <ul><li>Do you consider yourself trustworthy? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you believe other perceive you as trust worthy? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you follow though on your commitments? </li></ul><ul><li>What would make you a more credible leader? </li></ul>Please complete questions in your participants guide
    11. 12. Vision Creating the way
    12. 13. Creating a Vision Envision the Future Imagine the Possibilities Find a Common Purpose Developing a Vision Enlist Others
    13. 14. Envision the Future <ul><li>Be Forward-Looking </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an ideal </li></ul><ul><li>Create a picture of the future </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the common good in mind </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on your past </li></ul><ul><li>Attend to the present </li></ul><ul><li>Prospect the future </li></ul><ul><li>Feel your passion </li></ul>Imagine the Possibilities
    14. 15. Find a Common Purpose <ul><li>Listen deeply </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the values of others </li></ul><ul><li>Make a “cause” for commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Be forward-looking in times of rapid change </li></ul>
    15. 16. Developing a Vision <ul><li>Determine what you will do next </li></ul><ul><li>Picture what you will do next </li></ul><ul><li>Survey your constituents about their aspirations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Appeal to common ideals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Connect to what is meaningful to others </li></ul><ul><li>Take pride in being unique </li></ul><ul><li>Align your dream with that of the people </li></ul>
    16. 17. Vision- Looking toward the future <ul><ul><li>1) When you think of establishing a vision what comes to mind? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) How would you implement a new vision and direction in your workplace? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3) Name three characteristics you have seen in forward thinking leaders that you admire? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4) What does it mean to be forward-thinking? </li></ul></ul> Please complete questions in your participants guide
    17. 18. Relationships Together is better
    18. 19. Relationships <ul><li>Ethical leaders strive to create a cooperative, productive, and moral community in the workplace. </li></ul>
    19. 20. Relationships – Questions for Reflection <ul><li>As an ethical leader, why is it important to build relationships within the organization? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you accomplish this? </li></ul><ul><li>What barriers may make building relationships difficult in the workplace, and how can this be overcome? </li></ul>Please complete questions in your participants guide
    20. 21. Relationships- Potential Barriers <ul><li>Diverse and competing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obligations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Kouzes & Posner, 1993, p. 89) </li></ul></ul>
    21. 22. Relationships – Building Bridges <ul><li>Unconditionally Constructive Strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Balance emotion with reason </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand other’s perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquire, consult, and listen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be reliable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accept others as worthy and worth learning from. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocate Cooperation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build consensus between organization members </li></ul></ul><ul><li> (Kouzes & Posner, 1993, p. 130-131) </li></ul>“ Enlightened communication enables [organization] members to establish positive bonds and make wise ethical choices… and includes comprehensive, critical listening, supportive communication, productive conflict management, and argumentation” (p.223). -Johnson
    22. 23. Conclusion Credibility, vision, and relationships Ingredients for success!
    23. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>Customers and clients reward organizations who prize: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Integrity, 2) innovative solutions, 3) and treat employees, stakeholders, partners, and customers with dignity and respect </li></ul><ul><li>-Modern organizations face more complex challenges </li></ul><ul><li>-The need for ethical leadership is urgent today </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical leadership is composed of : </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility - Doing what we say </li></ul><ul><li>Vision - define reality and create the future </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships – believe ins the power of “we” vs. “I” </li></ul>
    24. 25. References Johnson, C. E. (2007). Ethics in the workplace: Tools and tactics for organizational transformation. Sage Publications: London. Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (1993). Credibility: How leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2002). The Leadership Challenge. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. Palmer, J., P. (1998) The Courage To Teach . Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.