Why Is Ethics Important In Leadership?

The oft-asked query, “Why is ethics important in leadership?” trends as open-ended for the reason that there is no single, simple answer. Ethics plays a vital role in leadership, irrespective of the company/organization’s background or specialization. 

Ethics at the workplace is more about individuals and the workforce behaving according to a set of principles and values that uphold and increase the company’s reputation.

You can even say that ethical behavior within the company/ organization can build its reputation from scratch. Of course, if you review the company, you will soon realize the value of an open-ended query like “Why is ethics important in leadership?” You would also want to take a closer look at the company’s performance and its current leadership.

  • Why is it essential to be an ethical leader?

Now, that’s a fair question, given the topic of this op-ed. Its workforce must stand out when it comes to ethics in an organization or a corporation. That means they need to follow a set of predetermined values/ principles and behave ethically. Sounds like a lot, right? Nope, not when you realize the reward at the end of the tunnel.

Such behavior by the workforce will increase the company’s standing in the community and even add to its reputation. But the problem is that a leader must lead by example. And that means you. If you expect your employees to behave ethically at all times when at the office – then by extension, you would be required to do the same. 

Moreover, when your employees see you exhibiting this behavior at the office, they would naturally follow the same. Now you can see why it is essential to be an ethical leader rather than an absent one.

  • The six core elements that define ethical leadership:

When it comes to ethical leadership, you will be surprised to learn that it consists of six core elements that help define it. Check them out.


When it comes to ethics, you must be honest to yourself and others. And the same applies to an ethical leader since honesty will make him seem more credible since he will be committed to presenting facts. In short, an ethical leader will always base his decisions on facts rather than make-believe.

Justice is about giving everyone under you an equal opportunity to contribute to the company. You would not show any favoritism to anyone but would let their performance speak for itself. Moreover, you would undoubtedly go out of your way to condemn improper behavior, including manipulative ones.


 When it comes to being an ethical leader, one of the first things you learn is how to show respect to others, irrespective of their post or rank within the company. You make the time to listen to others actively and show them the required respect. And this will endear them to you as well, and they will be under the impression that you respect everyone.


When you follow through on a promise with the required action, you indicate to your workforce that you have the required integrity. Integrity is essential to being an ethical leader and something you should never forget.


Responsibility means being in charge and accepting responsibility for the deed. You would be claiming ownership for a set of actions you have undertaken to surmount various challenges. Now, it is your responsibility to complete them successfully.

 Transparency is more about communicating important information with all the requisite stakeholders.

  • The traits of an ethical leader:

·   When it comes to being ethical leaders, they are more aware of their limitations and strengths. To state that they are more self-aware would not be an exaggeration. Moreover, they would know their values, principles, and ethics well. One of the trademarks that set ethical leaders apart is being consistent. 

  They always behave with ethics under most circumstances, with nary a difference in their behavior at the office or the boardroom. They will not tolerate any actions or behavior from others contrary to their established principles. An ethical leader would, more often, call the offending party out for any acts considered highly unethical and may even take up action against the person.

·   What makes ethical leaders stand out is that they are entirely transparent. So if they have made a mistake, they generally own up to it, even make a few suggestions on handling it, and will face up to the challenge. This is what sets an ethical leader apart.

As you can see, ethics is an essential aspect of any leadership. Moreover, the leadership itself would be defined by ethics and the value the person attaches to the same.