Pooja was leading a large team at work, which meant different work styles and inevitable conflicts. However, everyone was treated with respect because that’s how Pooja set an example.

When leaders are driven by what’s right, instead of what’s profitable, they’re ethically motivated.

Ethical leadership is the hallmark of a healthy, respectful and enriching work environment. The way you—as a leader—treat your employees affects their behavior toward you, each other and the organization.

Find out the meaning of ethical leadership and how it improves work performance, builds relationships and gets rid of biases.

  1. What Is Ethical Leadership?

     

  2. Five Pillars Of Ethical Leadership

  3. Characteristics Of An Ethical Leader

  4. Ethical Leadership And Emotional Intelligence

What Is Ethical Leadership?

Imagine if your manager discriminated against you because everyone except you on your team was from the same university. Not only will this lead to partial behavior but also demotivate you from giving your best at work.

Ethical leadership defines how a leader should treat their employees fairly, keeping their biases and prejudice aside. The definition of ethical leadership lays down the code of conduct to be followed by someone in a senior position. If your employees look up to you for guidance, you should demonstrate ethical, honest and respectful conduct in the workplace.

The five pillars of ethical leadership are:

  • Honesty

  • Justice

  • Integrity

  • Respect

  • Community

Adopting these five qualities will help you become a mentor to your team. If you want them to rely on you—trust you to solve conflicts objectively—you should work toward incorporating them into your work style. work ethic is important and invaluable in a professional setting. A workplace may be a competitive environment, but at the end of the day everyone’s trying to do their best to learn, succeed and participate.

Characteristics Of An Ethical Leader

Every ethical leader has a few common qualities that distinguishes them from others. These characteristics can be observed in the way they interact with someone—from their team or otherwise.

Here’s a list of ethical leadership characteristics:

  1. Honesty Among Teams

Things that can break a team are doubt and a lack of faith. If you have to work with someone nine hours a day, you can only do it if there’s mutual trust. As a leader, it’s even more critical that you set the right expectations from the start. Teams are built on trust because it helps to roll-out tasks and projects more effectively. Honesty means taking responsibility for your mistakes, being accountable and having the confidence to let your employees take the lead.

  1. Mutual Respect

Being in a position of authority may give you more flexibility, but you should still respect your team equally. If there’s respect, you can expect to align your team’s values to the organizations. Working together involves ups and downs but if you can maintain a strict standard of respect, it ensures that no one feels wronged.

  1. Teambuilding

To achieve team goals and objectives, you have to encourage team-building. You can do this with fun activities like a trust circle or social events. This gives employees a chance to get to know each other. An ethical leader focuses on each team member’s growth.

  1. Equity Vs Equality

Understanding the difference between equality and equity will make you an ethical leader. Rather than focusing on treating everyone equally, a leader should respect differences. One employee may have a different work style than another. Recognizing this and accommodating their work styles will help you build a stronger team.

  1. Organizational Values

At every step, you have to be mindful of organizational values as you lead your teams. Teams can’t function separate from the organization, for which goals, values and ethics need to be aligned. Every organization follows a code of conduct that must be communicated—and adhered to—across levels.

Some examples of ethical leadership are working logically, doing the right thing—even if others don’t agree with you—and thinking objectively. Leading with dignity, integrity and respect will make you an asset in your organization. A happy and satisfied team will always achieve better results and outcomes. But before you respect and trust others, you have to respect yourself. If you can lead yourself to be better, you can lead your team toward excellence.

Ethical Leadership And Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is your ability to understand and recognize your emotions and those of your team. Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course will teach you how to lead using emotional intelligence. You’ll learn about accommodating different work styles, positive leadership and being an ethical leader. Everyone has a unique way of working and you can be the leader who sees this as an opportunity to maximize results. Treating people with kindness is the mark of a just leader.


Explore topics such as Functions of Management, What is TeamworkDelegation of Authority, The Difference Between Leadership and Management & Strategic Management from Harappa Education and develop skills to become a reliable leader.

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