Chapter eleven analyzes ethical leadership and followership within a normal business setting. Ethics refer to standards of moral conduct, to judgments about whether human behavior is right or wrong (Hackman, 2005). Leadership and ethics go hand-in-hand. Many professors and researchers throughout time have investigated the link (or lack thereof) between ethical decisions and the development of good leaders.images.jpeg There are six main ethical challenges that leaders or people in leadership positions have to face. The challenge of deceit refers to leaders practicing deception for one reason or another. Most of the time, deceptive actions are taken for the leaders own good or the interest of the group. This particular challenge is a major ethic issue because people tend to take actions that will better themselves before others.
The challenge of responsibility, power, and privilege are three of the six main ethical challenges a leader will eventually face. Followers are mostly responsible for their own action but leaders are responsible for the actions of everyone. This increased responsibility directly translates into increased power and privilege. The ethical dilemma comes into play when leaders have to decide how to use their power and privilege and to what extent is necessary.
Oftentimes with leaders the challenge of loyalty is one that has many boundaries and no clear lines of demarcation. Leaders often have to provide many different people with results that will sometimes conflict with differing people. Good leaders will often chose a result that betters the group or organization over results that might be more self-centered and beneficial to the actual leader.
The final ethical challenge that many leaders have to face is the challenge of consistency. This particular challenge is difficult for leaders because it takes into account numerous external factors such as the readiness levels of the followers, the nature of the task, and whether subordinates are in-group or out-group members. The term “playing favorites” comes into play in this scenario because leaders often have to decide between a person they generally like better and the person that is going to do the best job.
James Rest introduced four components of ethical behavior and analyzed the different outcomes of each decision being made. The four major components are moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral action. These major components outline everything that goes into a leader making an ethical decision. Depending on the situation, an ethical decision can have anywhere from a few questions to answer all the way up to 20 questions that are consciously thought of and analyzed before making a final decision.