Leadership is the process of socially influencing other people towards the attainment of certain objectives. As Watts (2008) observed, leaders have a duty to steer organizations or their groups into achieving organizational goals since organizations are formed for the purpose of achieving particular targets. On the other hand, ethics is concerned with what is right. It holds that actions and decisions made in organizations are undertaken in a manner that takes into account moral considerations and rights of all parties that have a stake in the activities of such an organization. In this paper, ethical leadership and accountability are discussed.
Ethical leadership is a process of guiding an organization or group towards undertaking its duties with due regard to fairness, legal provisions, and morality (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). It entails making right and balanced decisions for the benefit of all members with consideration to equity. Each organization has several stakeholders that include the external environment and the internal environment. The suppliers, employees, community, authorities, competitors, and consumers are other stakeholders. Ethical leadership encompasses the embracement of sustainability. The areas to be considered are listed below.
Sustainable employment practices performed by an organization entail ethical leadership. Employees offer labor services in return for wages and salaries (Watts, 2008). Besides fair remuneration equivalent to their qualifications, experience, and the nature of undertaken assignments, other terms of service play a critical role in the welfare of employees. The working environment, involvement in organization activities, and programs for motivation and career development are also important to the employees. If employees’ welfare is adequately addressed, employee turnover will be reduced. Employee recruitmnt and promotions should also be based on merit. They would support ethical leadership in terms of employee welfare.
Environmentalists are another stakeholders in the activities of an organization. Efforts or mechanisms that serve to conserve the environment would serve as ethical consideration. Organizations that limit over-exploitation of natural resources, limit emission of gases, recycle their waste appropriately, and take part in corporate social responsibility in efforts to restore the environment are deemed ethical. Since degradation of the environment negatively affects several organisms in the ecosystem as observed by Dirks and Ferrin (2002), ethical leadership should take steps and plans to conserve the environment.
Sustainable operations constitute an aspect of ethical leadership. An organization dealing with other stakeholders will have depicted ethical conduct by being fair and open in its activities. They include being transparent in all undertakings, avoiding corruption, or any kind of undue favoritism. When an organization condones unfair practices, deserving cases are denied an opportunity to advance. Fairness is an attribute of ethical leadership.
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Accountability is a component of ethical leadership, which entails being answerable for one’s actions and decisions (Dirks, & Ferrin, 2002). Individuals who are in positions of leadership take various responsibilities at work. The leadership acknowledges that they should explain how they arrived at a decision and why they made such a decision. It ensures openness and a culture of care and due diligence. Moreover, it promotes fair practices, in which all stakeholders have access to information and are equally treated within organization.
In addition, accountability implies that leaders or organizations stand by their decisions and defend them at the right forums. When their decisions or actions are undertaken without any unethical practice, confidence to take full responsibility for any issues arises due to certain actions. Once the leader makes a decision, the appropriate precedence will be set on ethical leadership.
Ethical leadership and accountability requires from influential leaders making right decisions (Thompson, 2005). In their deliberations, leaders are guided by fair and equitable principles. In this case, the welfare of the community or society will be improved, and organizations will be free from discrimination against any party. Moreover, environmental conservancy will be equally enhanced. Fair practices and ethical leadership offer equal opportunity to all. In addition, it ensures that corporate social responsibility initiatives aid in addressing certain challenges that the community face (Thompson, 2005). Therefore, ethical leadership and accountability will promote fairness and the well-being of all organization and society members.
Organizations undertake certain assignments for the attainment of set goals. In the process, they are involved in various operations and interactions with several parties. Ethical leadership and accountability are attributes that take into account the rights of all parties interested in the affairs of the organization. Fairness and openness promote healthy ethical environment. The leaders should ensure that ethical considerations are upheld in all the undertakings of the organization.
On the other hand, accountability serves to ensure that an organization and its agents are held responsible for the acts and decisions they take. If leaders account for their decisions, due care will be exercised to protect the rights of interested parties. It is commonly believed that the values of ethical leadership and accountability should be practiced by leaders. However, everyone has a role to play by adopting and embracing the concepts of ethics.
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