Role of Ethics Within Leadership

Ethical leadership involves embracing practices that comply with the set moral beliefs and values, such as observing the dignity of others and respecting people’s civil liberties. Ethics refers to concepts such as trust, equality, integrity, and charisma (Grandy & Sliwa, 2017). Complying with some laid-down ethical principles results in ineffective leadership. In particular, observing ethics enhances organizational success because people and other stakeholders feel that their rights and efforts are recognized. This paper focuses on ethical principles of honesty and respect in leadership. It also investigates leadership issues related to these moral values before discussing how they apply to my own leadership.

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Explanation and Application of Ethical Principles to Leadership

The word ethics emanates from the Greek term ethos, which denotes habits (Grandy & Sliwa, 2017). When adopted in organizational settings, it may imply respect or honesty in the execution of one’s mandates. Consequently, honesty and respect constitute two important principles of ethics in leadership. They form part of an organization’s culture. The principle of respect not only involves leaders respecting themselves but also calls upon them to value other people’s contributions and rights. Respectful leaders are empathetic, tolerate others, listen, and act after considering other people’s points of view. Although they may prove people wrong, such leaders are always willing to support any deserving arguments.

Honesty is a vital ethical principle, especially when viewed from its opposite side, dishonesty, which involves acts of cheating or lying to others (Amiridis, 2018). It involves the misrepresentation of the truth. For example, in the attempt to win more investors, a leader may participate in the misrepresentation of financial statements. This unethical leadership practice depicts an organization as making continuous profits while it has actually been recording losses. Some dishonest CEOs may also illegally acquire resources from their companies. However, the repercussions of dishonesty include not only prosecution but also job termination.

Honesty and respectful leadership play a critical role in ensuring that employees execute their roles according to the rules set out to guide an organization’s operations. One of the mechanisms for managing workers involves orienting them to common behaviors that are founded on ethical principles. Therefore, the process of applying moral values in leadership entails evaluating individual standards and acquiring knowledge on collective principles that serve to boost relationships and operations in a country or an organization (Amiridis, 2018). It also includes developing the capacity to make well-informed choices to curb any negative impacts that may result from poor decisions. The failure to embrace respect and honesty results in undue repercussions that may impair an organization or individual’s achievement. Companies’ codes of ethics require leaders to take responsibility for all outcomes related to their choices.

Application of Ethical Principles to Leadership Issues

Different leadership issues call for the application of diverse principles. Major issues that call for the incorporation of ethics in healthcare leadership include nonmaleficence and confidentiality. The former issue, nonmaleficence, forms an important aspect of bioethics. It requires medical practitioners to refrain from inflicting intentional harm to patients (Duthie, Jiwani, & Steele, 2017). It is critical when dealing with seriously ill or terminally sick patients. Nonmaleficence is associated with the observed high rate of medication errors. Any mistake during prescription implies the likelihood of recording increased cases of death. Considering that medical experts have a responsibility of improving patients’ health outcomes, their failure to observe the principle of nonmaleficence denotes the lack of respect for other people’s right to proper treatment.

Honesty as a leadership principle relates to the concept of confidentiality when applied in healthcare settings. All healthcare professions have their roots embodied in codes of ethics, which give the profession its dignity and autonomy in practice. Everyone involved in healthcare should adhere to the laid-down core values and laws that govern the operations of medical centers (Duthie et al., 2017). Confidentiality is an ethical value that remains one of the major requirements that health caregivers uphold. For example, practitioners should be honest in their adherence to the principle of confidentiality to ensure trust that leads to full patients’ disclosure of their past medical records. Embracing honesty increases the accuracy of diagnosis, which reduces the chances of wrong treatment and medication.

Application of Ethical Principles to My Own Leadership

As a leader, I have an obligation to observe, cultivate, and apply ethical principles in my position as a health officer (Northouse, 2015). I can achieve this goal by ensuring that choices made under any circumstances or any organizational activities are founded on honesty and respect for all interested stakeholders. For instance, I can practice honesty and respect for patients’ welfare by emphasizing the need for discharging them only when they are medically prepared, as opposed to recommending their early ejection from hospitals with a view to creating more bed spaces for others. According to Northouse (2015), my actions will be compliant with morals and values that society and my employer consider desirable.

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Honesty and respect are crucial ethical leadership principles. Discharging patients when they are yet to demonstrate signs of recovering without the intervention of nurses, creating room for medical errors, and failing to attend to sick people at the required time are acts of disrespect to their rights. Acts of dishonesty, such as the misrepresentation of hospitals’ financial accounts to conceal the actual organizational performance, are inconsistent with the ethical principle of honesty. The paper holds that organizations that seek to build their success around people should adhere to the stated moral leadership values.


Amiridis, K. (2018). The shadow of Sophocles: Tragedy and the ethics of leadership. Business Ethics Quarterly, 28(1), 15-29.

Duthie, K., Jiwani, B., & Steele, D. (2017). Ethics and law. HEC Forum, 29(4), 347-358.

Grandy, G., & Sliwa, M. (2017).Contemplative leadership: The possibilities for the ethics of leadership theory and practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 143(3), 423-440.

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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