An arti­cle in the Har­vard Busi­ness Review sug­gests that the traits that make some­one become a leader aren’t always the ones that make some­one an effec­tive leader. Instead, effi­ca­cy can be traced to eth­i­cal­i­ty. Here are a few tips to be an eth­i­cal leader.

Humil­i­ty tops charisma
A lit­tle charis­ma goes a long way. Too much and a leader risks being seen as self-absorbed. Instead, focus on the good of the group, not just sound­ing good.

Hold steady
Prov­ing reli­able and depend­able mat­ters. Show­ing that—yes—the boss fol­lows the rules, too, earns the trust and respect of the peo­ple who work for you.

Don’t be the fun boss
It’s tempt­ing to want to be well liked. But show­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty and pro­fes­sion­al­ism is bet­ter for the health of the team—and your reputation.

Don’t for­get to do
Analy­sis and care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is always appre­ci­at­ed. But at the top you also have to make the call, and make sure it’s not just about the bot­tom line.

Keep it up!
Once you get com­fort­able in your lead­er­ship role, you may get too com­fort­able. Seek feed­back and stay vigilant.

A com­pa­ny that high­lights what hap­pens when lead­ers aren’t the ones to cham­pi­on ethics is pre­sent­ed in Human Resource Exec­u­tive. Ther­a­nos had a very pub­lic rise and fall, and the author of the arti­cle cites the crit­i­cal role com­pli­ance and ethics met­rics might have played in push­ing for bet­ter account­abil­i­ty. The arti­cle also makes the case for the pow­er­ful role of HR pro­fes­sion­als in help­ing guide more impact­ful ethics conversations.

One high pro­file case study of a com­pa­ny rec­og­niz­ing that lead­er­ship need­ed to do more is Uber. Here, lead­er­ship real­ized that fast growth was lead­ing to a crum­bling cul­ture. A piece in Yahoo! Sports shows how explo­sive growth can mean less time to mature as a com­pa­ny. Instead of focus­ing of part­ner­ships with cus­tomers and dri­vers, Uber became myopi­cal­ly cus­tomer-and growth-focused. This led to frus­tra­tions for dri­vers and ulti­mate­ly a class-action law­suit. New ini­tia­tives, from tip­ping to phone sup­port to a dri­ver being able to select rid­ers that will get them clos­er to home, have been rolled out in recent months. These changes have been wel­come, but, as the lead­er­ship reflect­ed, could have been more proac­tive­ly imple­ment­ed to everyone’s ben­e­fit. The mind­set of bring­ing peo­ple along will also poten­tial­ly help Uber main­tain bet­ter ties with munic­i­pal­i­ties, which ulti­mate­ly, is good for growth.

Har­vard Busi­ness Review - Don’t Try to Be the Fun Boss” — and Oth­er Lessons in Eth­i­cal Leadership

Yahoo! Sports — How Uber is recov­er­ing from a ‘moral break­ing point’

Human Resource Exec­u­tive An Ethics Lesson

by Bill Olson

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