Ethical Leadership: Promoting Integrity and Values in the Workplace

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Leadership in the workplace is not only about managing a team but also leading by example. A good leader will not only be able to control their team's behaviour and put forth good results but also inspire people to behave in an ethical fashion. Especially if there are young, impressionable workers in a team, they would likely follow the example set by their team leader in the workplace in future.

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People often tend to think that the job of a leader in a workplace is to make sure that projects run smoothly and bring the best results. While that is true, a leader also has to guide the team by adopting different values. That way the other workers will follow their example and adopt these values in their behaviour. 

In this article, we will learn about ethical leadership and its importance in a professional setting. If you want to become a good, professional leader, you can join an online general management programme to help you with it. 

What is Ethical Leadership?

The term ethical leadership basically refers to a set of values like honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, justice, transparency, etc. that a leader in a workspace abides by. These are some principles that are morally sound and demand the respect of others. 

Leadership does not only comprise values like time management, communication, delegation, etc. Even though they are a very important part of leadership, it is also important for a leader to lead by example when it comes to their morals and values. If you have integrity as a leader in any sector, you can get not only the respect of your teammates but also the whole workplace. 

Why is Ethical Leadership Important in a Workplace? 

Professional places like an office can often become the source of a lot of negative energy. People can have personal or professional problems with co-workers which might make them malicious or vindictive. This will be further encouraged if they see their superiors also engaging in immoral behaviour. 

But the main motto of ethical leadership is leading by example. This means that ethical leadership creates a workspace where employees feel safe in. Not only employees but also other professional acquaintances of the organisation like vendors, customers etc. will also be more trusting of the business. 

Ethical leadership can help employees be excited about their job and also make them comfortable in their workspace. It also helps the company avoid any type of major scandals or other ethical issues in the future. 

Being an ethical leader means not only becoming a better superior which your employees will respect but also someone they can trust. It is also really good for the reputation and esteem of both the company and the individual.

What are Some of the Traits of Ethical Leadership?

Every workspace has some form of an ethical or moral code which all employees must follow. There is also an HR department which takes action against people who break these ethical codes. But here are some of the traits of a good ethical leader.

  • Consistent Behavior- An ethical leader has to maintain a certain decorum consistently. They cannot deviate from their decorum because that would make the employees lose trust in their leader. 
  • Fairness- Since there are multiple people working under a leader, they have to be fair to everyone. If they show any partial behaviour, it can affect the morale of the team negatively and also make the employees lose trust in their leader. 
  • Apologising- Working on a project can be stressful and people can make mistakes. It is up to a leader to own up to their mistakes so that employees can also later feel safe enough to do so. 
  • Speaking Up for Their Team- Every leader should have their team’s back and defend them when necessary. If employees feel like their leader will stick up for them no matter what, they will also do the same in the future. 
  • Have a Moral Compass- Workplace rules are often not enough to judge a situation fairly and thus, leaders have to make a lot of decisions on their own. Ethical leaders should have undeterrable values that they can use to make decisions fairly.

How can You Improve Your Ethical Leadership Skills? 

Being an ethical leader is not as easy as it sounds because it is not only about having your own moral values but also making sure employees under you are also following the rules and ethics of the organisation. Here are a few ways you can improve your ethical leadership skills in the workplace. 

  • Make sure that your own morals and values are clear to see. If they can observe your values, they will be more inclined to follow them as well. 
  • You can also never ask an employee who works under you to act in a way that goes against the ethics of the business. If you do that, you will not only lose the trust but also the respect of other workers. 
  • If you make any mistakes while working, own up to it. 
  • Most importantly, if you are a business owner or in a position of power within the organisation, make sure to only acquaint yourself with business partners who are also ethical.


At the end of the day, ethics and values cannot be developed in a day, and building leadership skills takes even more time. If you are a business owner or someone that is leading a team of people within an organisation, you need to learn these skills. 

The IIMA General Management Programme by Imarticus can help you get ahead of the game with a cutting-edge learning programme designed to train your managerial capabilities. The programme will provide you with live online classes but also 3 full days of training in Dubai during the launch. You can train your managerial qualities and leadership skills with the help of this course.

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