Ethics: A Doorway to Effective Leadership – Nu Leadership Series

“Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise the bleeding will not end.”

Henry A. Kissinger

Here’s the secret. It’s hard to lead an organization if you’re unethical. I’ll expand on this organizational phenomenon. Why is this true? Well, followers will not respect a leader low in integrity. A leader can’t trick them with promotions or bribe them with money. In the long run, character does count in an effective organization. Have the noticed all of the leadership scandals?. You have high profile CEOs. You have government officials. You have celebrities. What are the results of these bad behaviors? People become less trusting of organizations and people. How can organizations exist when the leader-follower relationship is broken apart? According to one poll, 45% of the people give Congress poor marks for its honesty and ethics. How can intelligent and powerful people get in so much trouble? Ethics!

Ethic plays a critical role in leadership. Ethics is defined as the code of moral principles that governs the behavior of a person/group to what is right. Draft, an organization management expert, explains that leaders at the highest management levels develop internal moral standards that can often allow them to break laws if necessary. Leaders, however, should be connected with their organizations. Some leaders feel they are bigger than the organization. Employees notice leaders breaking rules yet employees are held to higher ethical standards. The outcome is no surprise to many. The organizational leader’s unethical conduct brings about his own demise and shame to his organization. Therefore, it can be concluded that effective leaders must be careful to stay humble and have accountability mechanisms in place so that they won’t hit any ethical mine fields. Organizations can’t afford to wait. Start today!


CNN (2005). Reid: White House owes an explanation. Received on October 31, 2005 from

Draft, R. (1995). Organization Theory & Design. Congress gets low ratings on ethics, honesty.

Lester, W. (2005). Associated Press. Congress gets low ratings on ethics, honesty.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green