FIVE LEADERSHIP TRENDS FOR 2012: Leadership by the ethics book

The following is the third in a four-part series on leadership trends for 2012.  We hope that you will find the articles enlightening and that you will be able to apply these strategies to make your business more ‘sticky’ to your employees!

Ethical leadership

Worldwide corruption in business and politics is rife. The focus on money, and its acquisition, has long been the norm in business and the term ‘cut-throat’ is often bandied about to describe fierce or relentless competition at the expense of decency.

Fortunately the tide is slowly beginning to turn as young entrepreneurs realise that business, conceived in its purest sense, must be practised according to ethical standards. Virgin magnate Richard Branson, writing for Leadership magazine, quotes Santander Brasil’s CEO, Fabio Barbosa, on this point:

‘It is becoming more and more clear that there is no incompatibility between doing business in an ethical and transparent manner, and achieving good financial results. This ‘false dilemma’ needs to be eliminated from business talk.’

Branson emphasises the need to do good in his frank, new book Screw Business as Usual. He sees absolute greed as having come close to bankrupting the world, leaving millions suffering in its wake. Those business leaders left standing should try to be a force for good and ditch financial profit as the only driving force, he says. In short, a return to ethical standards of leadership.

The word ‘ethical’ can be explained by a number of other terms, which all form part of its meaning and add to its understanding: morally right, just, good, principled, decent, honourable, honest and virtuous.

The new crop of emerging leaders, and some of the old, will need to embrace these qualities of character and leadership in a world where transparency has been trampled deliberately underfoot for the sake of money and power.

Do you find that younger generations more interested in ethical leadership than their older counterparts? Share with us your thoughts below.