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Ethics in Business – How to be an Ethical Leader

Winning is fun! You cannot deny when you end up on top there is a feeling of great satisfaction. Knowing what you have accomplished may be considered “best in class” is what we all as leaders strive to accomplish. Equally important is winning by following the rules. In today’s business climate there are many rules we must follow. Whether these rules are introduced by government, customers or society being the best includes ethically adhering to these guidelines. We as business leaders are constantly barraged with firms and individuals who attempt to prosper by not following the rules. These unethical behaviors may create a short term gain but in the long run these firms or individuals lose out. Whether there is government or civil actions taken, loss to the firm or individual is realized.

Ethical behavior by management is a fundamental building block of corporate governance. Ethical leaders do not seek the shortest route to driving results. Rather these leaders take the best route, one that meets the needs of the firm and yet does little to impact others or the environment.

That said ethical leadership demands creative thought. Looking beyond the obvious is a requirement to ethical leadership. The value that is created through the creation of new services and products that both serve a need and yet are benign to the environment is an important key competency of ethical leaders.
Ethical behavior may be learned using various methods. It may be mastered by experience or through education. Learning through experience requires extended time coupled with opportunity. Education on the other hand provides the future ethical leader with a wide array of learning tools in a short period of time. Universities are at the forefront of educating students with the fundamental building blocks required to practice ethical behaviors in both the private and public sectors. Examining successful firms as well as firms that have failed carry equal weight. Studying in a safe environment through formal education is unlike learning through experience. Here the learner can experience what ethical winning really requires not only from leadership but the entire organization.
The key take away when practicing ethical behavior is to live by the motto “doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. Not doing the right things but rather doing things right. The expertise in doing things right comes from a formal business education coupled with experiences throughout your career.

If you would like to learn more about leadership or business ethics contact a Program Manager at 866-295-3104 to discuss our online MBA program.

About the Author

Pete Papantos is an operations director at a Fortune 500 company. He is responsible for the global execution of their strategic plan and driving operational excellence using lean methods. In addition, Pete is a graduate instructor with emphasis in operations and strategic management — both in traditional and online settings.