With leadership comes a great responsibility to uphold a standard of integrity regardless of the cost. All too often we see leaders compromise their lifelong forged ethics just to gain the ever fleeting reward of “momentarily getting ahead. " This lack of ethical leadership has greatly shaped the values of our society. Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success; but rather try to become a man of values. " John Maxwell coined the well-known phrase, “leadership is influence, " and no one would disagree with that statement. But ethical leadership goes much deeper. Ethical leaders don't just influence others; they influence others to do what is right.
As leaders we have a great responsibility to not only do what is right but also influence others to do the same. Temporarily, it may not be easy and most often it doesn't appear to be advantageous, but you must weigh every decision according to the long-term consequences of that decision. Ask yourself: What will it cost me in the long run if I compromise my integrity? What are the negative consequences that come from cutting corners or from cheating my customers? What reputation will I create if I make this decision?
Below I have outlined the three most critical steps to achieve ethical leadership. By following these simple steps, you'll not only establish credibility among your clients, but you'll also outlast your competition. Credibility and longevity are what separate those who “just get by" from those who achieve great success.
1. Hold yourself to a higher standard than is required. Every failure in life can be traced back to a compromise of character. You must raise your standards and set the example for those who work for you. Don't allow yourself to compromise your integrity, but be resilient to always do what is right.
2. Keep your word. It doesn't matter what you promise. All that matters is that you do what's been promised. A leader is defined by the quality of his action, not the rambling of his words; therefore make it the rule to always under promise and over perform.
3. Tell the truth and be honest with others. A simple definition of honesty is: behavior in words and actions that aims to convey the truth. Conversely, dishonesty is a way of speaking or acting that causes people to be misled or deluded. Always consider the interest of others and not just your own. I say it like this: I would rather you hate me for telling you the truth than for you to like me for telling you a lie.
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2. Broken focus
3. Unfulfilled relationships
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