Ethical leadership: what is it and why should you strive to apply this principle?

Ethical leadership is a term encountered quite often in articles and literature about management and productivity. What is this principle? And why should you try to incorporate it into your management style?


Principles of ethical leadership

According to, ethical leadership has the following principles:

  • Integrity. A manager exhibiting ethical leadership has a high level of integrity. Their views are clear and subordinates know what to expect from them because they behave predictably and stick to their strong moral values.
  • Respect. Subordinates receive respect and a human touch from the manager.
  • Inclusion. Ethical leadership condemns any form of discrimination (based on gender, race, age, or anything else) and allows all subordinates to reach their maximum potential without discrimination.
  • Equality. An ethical manager is fair and measures everyone using the same yardstick.
  • Clearly defined priorities and requirements. In the area of communication, ethical leadership manifests itself through clearly defined priorities and clearly communicated demands.
  • Social responsibility. Last but not least, ethical leadership is based on social responsibility. It is practised with regard to social justice, ecological ideas and sustainability principles.

Why should you incorporate elements of ethical leadership into your management style?

Ethical leadership enables all team members to reach their full potential. By measuring everyone with the same yardstick and giving everyone the same space, you allow subordinates truly to utilise their strengths and help the team achieve its goals.

Since integrity, clearly defined priorities and transparent communication are also at the core of ethical leadership, fewer misunderstandings occur. Team members know what is expected of them and what they can expect from their supervisor. As a result of this, they work more calmly and in line with the team's priorities and goals.

In short, everyone benefits from team leadership: you as the manager, your subordinates, and the company as a whole.



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