8 Leadership Ethics Every Leader Should Live By In 2024

8 Leadership Ethics Every Leader Should Live By In 2024

When was the last time you’ve turned on the news or tapped a news notification on your phone, and saw yet another corporate scandal?

Your initial reaction might have been shock…but then, these scandals are nothing new, so you tend to expect nothing better.

But as a current or aspiring leader, the power is in your hands to make a difference. You can set the tone of your organization. You can stand out as an ethically conscious leader. By holding yourself to a rigorous set of standards, you can change the narrative and be well-esteemed by your industry peers, employees, leadership team, and customers. It’s in your hands to shape your own personal brand as a leader who lives and works by principle, and will not sacrifice morals to “look good” or for temporary, personal gratification.

You are responsible for your own code of conduct, as you will likely have employees, not only from your direct team, but across your organization, looking to you as a role model and observing your behavior, work ethic, leadership style, and character.

Why Ethical Leadership In 2024?

When people have leaders who maintain high standards and live by their own ethics, thus leading by example, they are more likely to have respect and admiration for them, will be more engaged at work, and will speak more highly of their company to outsiders.

A 2021 academic study by Wei-Li Wu in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, highlighted the impact of ethical and moral leadership in the workforce:

“The moral person dimension refers to the qualities of the ethical leader as a person. Strong moral persons are considered to be honest, principled, trustworthy, and approachable; they show a concern for their followers and treat them fairly. The moral manager dimension describes how ethical leaders use their power to create a moral environment in the workplace.

“Ethical leaders are moral role models in organizations; they set and communicate clear ethical standards to their followers…Since the ethical leader of a group is honest, principled and trustworthy, followers will tend to trust him or her in the work environment. Previous studies have shown that ethical leadership can foster the followers’ perception of trust and psychological safety.”

Ethics For Leaders

Below are eight ethics you might want to make part of your own rulebook this year, so you can lead consciously and with authenticity:

1. Consistency

Consistency is a key trait in ethical leaders, especially as relates to communication. Be consistent and transparent with everyone when relaying information. One discrepancy, and you could be counted out as not being trustworthy, and your followers won’t know what to expect from you next. Consistency builds trust over time, as people gauge your character by repetitive actions.

2. Integrity

Are you being true to yourself, and to what you believe is ethically correct? One of the toughest decisions to make is to make, is to decide to do the right thing at all times, even when faced with difficult crossroads or external pressure from stakeholders. But ultimately, losing your integrity will lead to your teams losing confidence in your ability to do the right thing, and to do what is in their best interest.

3. Respect

Respect is a mutual expectation in the workplace. Not only must you receive respect by virtue of your position in the corporate hierarchy, but you must equally realize the importance of giving respect to your reports. Treat all team members with dignity, and show them that you value their contributions and perspectives, and that you respect their wellbeing and time.

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4. Accountability

Perhaps one of the toughest tasks a leader is faced with in their career is that of owning up to mistakes—a quality associated with emotional intelligence. But holding yourself accountable is not only beneficial, it’s necessary.

It shows that you are honest with yourself, and that you are not twisting the rules to suit your own agenda. It also helps you progress your own career, because when you are self-aware you are able to identify areas of improvement, take corrective actions, and learn from your mistakes.

5. Equality

As an aspiring leader, it’s essential to strive to create a level playing field so all feel that they have a voice and are recognized within decision-making processes, policies, and procedures. Don’t be afraid to voice your concern when the rights of others are being trampled on within your organization.

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6. Empathy

Leading with empathy is a highly desirable trait of leadership in 2024. Employees want leaders who truly show by their actions that they care. Practice and demonstrate empathy by putting yourself in your team member’s shoes, actively listening, and considering the impact of your actions and words.

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7. Empowerment

How much do you inspire and empower your team? A true sign of a leader is how many leaders they create out of their followers. Are you bringing your team members up the ladder with you? Are you empowering them to take accountability and responsibility for themselves? Are you coaching them to be exceptional in their performance? Are they inspired by you and encouraged to uphold company values and ethics?

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8. Sustainability

Last but not least, sustainability is an initiative that should be on every leader’s agenda. Through your example, through company-wide policies, and through daily team processes and practices, it’s your responsibility to do your part towards preserving the planet and contributing towards a greener future for the next generation. Not only is sustainability good for the planet, but it’s good for attracting and retaining talent according to Deloitte, especially Gen Z and Millennials who make this a priority when choosing their next employer.

Make these eight ethics a high priority this year, and commit to leading with integrity, adhering to yours and your organization’s values, and modeling the behaviors you want to see in your team.

Correction: When originally published, the author mistakenly credited the publishing of the academic study cited, to the NLM: “A 2021 academic study by Frontiers in Psychology, published in the National Library of Medicine.” This has now been changed to “A 2021 academic study by Wei-Li Wu in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology,” as NLM is a scientific literature library and database, not a publisher.

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