Ethics, character, moral intelligence…some people think these concepts seem old-fashioned.

Some leaders cut corners, bend the rules, or shade the truth because they are afraid they might miss opportunities.

Leaders need to build their reputation on an ethical foundation. When the economy gets tough and it gets harder and harder to hit the numbers, sometimes ethics get a little sloppy. The key to professional success is to display ethical conduct in all things.

Leaders that are known for demonstrating ethical behavior are trusted and respected. Character involves two qualities: honesty and impartiality. Character is to do the right thing. Credibility is a valuable commodity and credibility refers to the believability of the leader.

Sometimes it is easy to recognize unethical behaviors such as withholding information, deliberately distorting information, being coercive, or flat-out lying.

Sometimes the unethical behavior is subtle and mildly manipulative. Ethical leaders are never involved in shady business schemes or shady activities. Because once a reputation is tarnished, it will never be the same.

It is vital that leaders have clear policies and take clear actions when policies are violated.

Ethics is “good” business.

It is difficult to follow a leader that is not trustworthy. It is a waste of emotional energy to wonder if the boss really means it…this time. Character builds confidence in all relationships. Guiding principles provide staff clear direction on what to do and how to do. Ethics and effective leadership go hand in hand.

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