Ethical Issues in Leadership
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Ethical Issues in Leadership
Table of Contents
- Ethical Issues in Leadership
- Two New Games
Ethical Issues in Leadership
Leaders deal with ethical issues at three levels - the individual level, the team level, the organisational level and the humanitarian level. No matter what the level, leaders are expected to uphold the values of the organisation, the greater good of humans – not just in the organisation, but also in the community where the organisation functions.
Some samples of ethical issues that faces leaders:
- Individual Level: Individuals are asked to join the team only to prove to the stakeholders that work is done in teams, whereas the decisions are actually taken by a few.
- Team Level: A team member is going through a crisis in the family. She is invariably late. The leader knows about it. She works late to compensate for arriving late. However, the rest of the team does not know and feel that the team code is being compromised.
- Organisational Level: The organisation has discovered a new technique through which sportspersons can increase their endurance. However, the equal rights lobby feels that this discovery will unfairly improve the chances of winning of sportspersons from developed countries.
- Humanitarian Level: The organisation has been established in a natural resource rich area, so as to reduce the cost of transportation of raw material to the organisation. While the organisation provides employment and education to the human habitation that lives in the vicinity, the danger of depleting the natural resource is increasing.
How does a leader handle these situations? Is there a formula? How have other leaders handled such situations?
While there is no specific formula, there are a set of processes that a leader can apply to come up with a course of action. It involves answering the following questions about the:
- Identity of the individual/team/organisation
- The values/beliefs that are dear to the individual/team/organisation
- The process of preventing these beliefs from being compromised
In the above examples the leaders took the following decisions:
- The individual accepted the membership of the team on the condition that he is involved in the discussions which made the final decisions.
- The leader apologised to the team for not sharing the problem their team mate was undergoing. He called for a team meeting and the problem was shared.
The team took it upon themselves to share the burden of their team mate which helped her come out of the crisis faster and get back to her normal high level of performance in the team.
- The CEO decided to withdraw the technique from the market and the developed countries were unhappy about it. They wanted the technique to be introduced into the market and so devised ways of enabling the developing countries to also access the techniques without incurring the crippling costs of purchasing directly from the organisation.
The CEO was keeping a close watch on these developments. When he was sure that introducing the technique into the market will not tip the balance against the developing countries, he announced the launch of technique. The organisation had the patent and so made millions without jeopardising the chances of any section of the global society.
- The CEO arranged for a dialogue with the local inhabitants and introduced them to the hazards of the depleting natural resource. The inhabitants and the company officials decided to stop the current operations of the organisation and came up with the micro enterprise option.
In this option the company trained them on vocations and provided them loans to set up small scale units. While the inhabitants set-up viable businesses, the company earned the interest on the loans
Two New Games
- Energiser: Put five chairs in the centre of the room. Name each chair after a book that is being reviewed. Assign each person the name of one of the five books. Get the participants to stand around the chairs in a circle. You have to call out the name of one of the books.
All those who have the same name have to race to oocupy the chair of the same name. Whoever reaches the chair first has won and leaves the circle. The next time around call out another name and the process is repeated until one person remains. This person is declared the ultimate winner and gets a token as a gift.
- Internalising a format: After a group has understood a format, say of doing book reviews. They are given a fresh book to review. The large group is divided into smaller groups. Each small group is given a part of the format of the book review. They are expected to write that part of the format on a flip-chart and display it.
Each group does this for the different parts of the format. After the groups have finished the task, they walk around the displayed charts, and guess the section of the format that the display fits into.
For, eg: if the format has a section called 'introduction', the group which gets this part to answer, will write the introduction of the book review and display it. When the other groups read this section they should be able to say that this belongs to the 'introduction' section of the format.
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Thank you all for the enthusiastic response to the last issue. I hope you like this issue as much as I liked writing it.