15 Apr 2022


Leadership to Improve Ethical Performance

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Academic level: College

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Today, ethics make the foundational culture of an organization. A successful business today is a one that is characteristic of a strong ethical background. Significantly, the implementation and successful maintenance of an ethical background in any corporation starts all the way from its top management and trickles down to the employees. If an organization’s leadership is not ethical, the employees too are prone to the same kind of behavior, and this consequently becomes the image of the business. Ethical leadership is one of the basal factors that contribute to employee performance (Walumbwa et al., 2011). This paper looks at the perspectives of the CEO of a top corporate firm who was interviewed so as to establish their view in regards to ethical leadership and its relation to performance. The interview was directed by a series of questions that had been well-developed to bring out to bring about their view on the subject matter. 

Leadership, according to the interviewee, is not just an act of leading individuals or an organization. He described leadership as the act of successfully integrating coordination, direction, and purpose to realize the successful realization of a company’s goal. Further, he added that leadership is not all about being in authority and power but being a role model to the people one leads. His shared perception was that leadership is about service more than it is about being authoritative. 

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When questioned on how he would react in the case where an employee was not pulling their weight, he said that such situations require professionalism and a top ethical approach. He stated that an employee could perform lesser than expected due to many reasons which could be work-related or personal. Such cases, as he stated, are quite rampant in the modern business world. In such situations, he informed me that he approaches the specific employee using an informal capacity. He tries to be friendly to them so as to determine what problems they might be facing. Once the problem has been identified, he then goes ahead to try and help the individual solve their problems. He also cited that he advocates for the use of motivation in such cases.

The interviewee’s greatest leadership challenge was a time when he had to handle a case where an employee had harassed another on the basis of race. This was a hard case for him to handle based on the fact that the offender was from his race and they also knew each other on a personal level. Nevertheless, he had to settle the dispute. He identified it as a violation of the company’s policy in regards to discrimination. Following the company’s policy, the offender was suspended from work without pay for a week. After his return, the interviewee organized training for the employees to sensitize them on the importance of maintaining coexistence despite their differences. This had a positive effect on the interrelations of employees.

He identified his communication style as primarily assertive. This, as he said, makes employees more open and interactive with him. They can converse with him freely as well as share ideas and any developments in the workplace. The interviewee also expressed that there are times when he had to use interpersonal skills in the organization especially when dealing with employees. He referred to the aforementioned racism case citing that he had to call in the employee who had violated the company’s policy to have a one-on-one talk after the suspension. The CEO had to explain to the employee why he took the measures he took and why it was wrong to bring about racial prejudice at work. 

Leading by example is his way of showing the employees that ethical behavior is paramount. He always ensures that, as the CEO, his moral conduct is quite high. When he does something wrong, he is always quick to apologize, and he always takes charge for any activities whether good or bad. He was also quick to state that the company is very prone to unethical behavior given that it deals with consumers directly. In one instance, he states than an employee was engaged by a bitter client in a very aggressive conversation which made her return bitter words too. In such cases, as he explains, an employee is expected to maintain their calm no matter how bitter the client becomes. To ensure that employees do not succumb to such tempting moments, he always ensures that they are trained from time to time on the importance of being ethical. In this trainings, employees are informed of what is expected when dealing with each other as well as with clients. 


The CEO illustrated an exquisite understanding of ethical conduct and its implications for individual employees as well as the entire organization. Leadership is not about being the boss and setting the rules. A leader should always be a good example of what is expected of those they are in charge of. Moreover, the image of a business is always largely characterized by how its top management presents itself to the public. Significantly, he realizes that the establishment of ethical culture is not all talk but action. Leaders are the controllers of a company’s direction. The employees will always follow what they see their leaders doing. If the leader’s morals are upright and unquestionable, every other employee finds themselves doing just the same (Brown & Mitchell, 2010). 

Establishing an up-close and personal relationship with employees is also imperative. Employees start feeling like they are part of the organization. They can communicate with their seniors freely. This improves work productivity as the employees feel that they are an indispensable and valuable asset in the organization. This makes them dedicate their time at work to delivering according to their expectations. Additionally, it is not always that employees will deliver. This, as earlier on mentioned, could be as a result of individual or work problems. Most employers become aggressive with them for not working as is expected and some even go to extents of firing them. In such a situation, the employer should, first of all, establish a rapport with the employee to determine what the cause of such behavior is (Brown & Mitchell, 2010). 

Handling of cases between two employees or between employees and clients is also a very sensitive area that requires a very ethical approach. Emotions are a normal occurrence in human beings, and they might arise without one noticing. There will always be instances that will trigger emotions in a business setting. A leader, for instance, can be easily offended by the doing of an employee. They could also get emotional when handling a case in the workplace and end up reacting in a manner that could jeopardize their ethical standards. It is also important that they do not show any favouritism to employees. All employees should be treated equally and should be allowed equal opportunities regardless of their differences. A leader should be the first person to disregard discrimination of any kind in their area of jurisdiction. They should ensure that they put in place strict policies that will ensure that employees are aware of their stance on such matters.


Brown, Michael, E; & Mitchell, Marie, S. (2010). Ethical and unethical leadership: exploring new avenues for future research. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20 (4), 583-616.

Walumbwa, Fred, O; Mayer, David, M; Wang, Peng; Wang, Hui; Workman, Kristina; & Christensen, Amanda, L. (2011). Linking ethical leadership to employee performance: the roles of leader-member exchange, self-efficacy, and organizational identification. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 115 (2), 204-213.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Leadership to Improve Ethical Performance.


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