The Need for Ethical Leadership in the Workplace

The structure of your business and the use of “ethical managers” are big determinants of business success. What is an ethical manager? This term stems from Luke Andreski’s article “Ethics in the Workplace: The Ethical Manager.” By his definition, an ethical manager is both successful and ethical when it comes to a competitive workplace environment.

There was a time when ethical practices of business managers weren’t emphasized as being of importance in the workplace. Fortunately, with the implementation of codes of conduct and scrutinization of organizations with poor business practices, there has been an increase of interest in using ethics in business decisions. In fact, Andreski states, “Ethical organizations are increasingly seen as a template for business success, achieving not only greater societal benefits but also increased profitability.” No longer should unethical practices be seen as profitable but, instead, the opposite. Businesses need to prioritize applying ethical practices to their leadership and management.

This all starts with Maslow’s needs. If you’ve taken a psychology class, you’ve probably come across his hierarchy and learned about his moral principles. These are:

  • To nurture others.
  • To nurture the wider community and our species as a whole.
  • To nurture the biological world.

Using Andreski’s persona of the Ethical Manager we can establish what you should do in order to meet these needs. Some practices you may already be familiar with are team building, career development opportunities and continued learning. As a manager or business leader, you can also meet Maslow’s need of nurturing the wider community by implementing programs such as the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree or having a day where all employees can volunteer instead of coming to work.

Besides satisfying moral principles in your leadership, it’s also important to understand that employee wellbeing is dependent on certain moral aspects. Your employees have a moral need for freedom and self-direction. Managers should be there to encourage creativity and self-direction rather than hinder it. There should be less micro-managing and more opportunities for employees to step up to the leadership plate. Leadership should try giving training for programs that allow employees to submit their ideas on a strategic level. There is also a moral need for opportunities to which it is exceedingly important for leadership to give attention. This comes directly from the principle of human equality. Managers should already be doing this in the form of diversity policies and non-discrimination and equal pay policies but it’s important for them to keep evaluating their policies to make sure they are as up to date as possible.

You should learn as much as you can about each of your employees and how they feel about the company’s diversity as a whole. Every employee should also have a sense of inclusion and involvement in the workplace. This is especially important when considering toxic work environments and how they can quickly become exclusive and cliquey. Managers should satisfy this aspect of morality by increasing team building activities. Just as a small example you could switch up teams for different projects or responsibilities.

Overall, by satisfying these moral aspects of your employees, your business will be a happier and more ethical place to work.

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Author: Stephanie McGuinn

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