Monday, April 17, 2006

ethical business leadership is mandatory

Business leadership must be based on ethical standards and moral principles, not profits and success at any cost.

Many times I have abandoned a client, due to lack of moral leadership. I have had clients who have tried to "pull something" on me, or on their customers.

When you see something shady, dubious, or outright wrong, you have to take a stand. If you see exploitation, unjust or unfair treatment, sadistic domination, it's time to leave.

You may not necessarily confront the executive, and you may not be able to do anything about the situation. But you can sever your alliance or employment with the questionable company or client.

"Every one of us should therefore be ever vigilant, watching for those who choose to lead others in immoral ways toward evil ends--or moral ways to evil ends, or immoral ways to good ends. This vigilance means that it is essential that you, as a constituent, demand to know what your leaders value....

One way to recognize moral leaders and to guard against immoral ones is to observe if they engage in learning the true needs and values of their constituents. If they are more intent on telling than on listening, it is likely that they are up to no good....

Respondents in our studies consistently favor honesty, competence, dependability, support, fairness, and caring. Leaders should bear this in mind--and constituents should be more willing to take a stand against those who would undermine these principles."

-- James M. Kouzes, chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company, executive fellow at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

Barry Z. Posner, dean of the Leavey School of Business and professor of leadership at Santa Clara University.

Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It
(Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, 2003)
p. 66-67


It's important for corporations to not only comply with the new post-Enron government regulations, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but also to realize that greed, paranoia, and deception are not success principles.

When workers are afraid to voice legitimate complaints, or to suggest improvements, a business is doomed.

The old tyrannical "Command and Control" style of leadership is dead. Business must engage in candid conversations with customers and with employees. Blogs, used correctly, represent one way to achieve transparency, honesty, and sincere relationship.

2 comments:

ellenweber said...

Steven I appreciate both you ideas for strong leadership and your call for ethics! Thanks.... It seems to be that the skills for good tone in communication good go a long way to helping people to value what it means to creat a culture for doing what is right... What do you think?

steven edward streight said...

I keep finding clients who may have good corporate values, but only on paper. They give lip service to them, but they're rotten hypocrites.

I am frankly in despair. I think America has degenerated into Psycho Capitalism, an insane form of money worship based on securing comfort zones for the pampered populace.

The biggest problem in life for the individual is the same as for the corporation: sacrificing self and selfish craving for higher ideals, altruism, truly helping others.

A company succeeds by deception or by really meeting a need. Most opt for deception: saying one thing and doing another.