Ethical Leadership Skills


The term ethical leadership refers to the basic principle that true leaders are concerned with "doing the right thing" and not merely "doing things right."


Leaders are responsible for cultivating the culture in their organization.  Followers will then complete assignments and exhibit behaviors that align with that culture. When leaders conduct themselves in an ethical manner, these actions can raise the entire organization to higher levels of ethical standards.

Studies have found that in organizations where leaders have practiced ethical leadership skills, these personnel characteristics were among the most appreciated by employees of the organization (Michael Richardson, 1992).

The advantages of ethical leadership qualities go beyond the decision-making process itself.  Generally, an ethical environment is one where leaders are able to:

  • Look at ethical dilemmas from a variety of perspectives
  • Reframe issues that appear to be ethical dilemmas
  • Take action with a sense of ethical standards
  • Exhibit the characteristic of conscious reflection.  This may take the form of talking through the dilemma to arrive at the most appropriate solution.

Related Terms

work environment, corporate culture, diversity