Ethical Leadership Aspects

By Slahor, Stephenie | Law & Order, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Ethical Leadership Aspects


Slahor, Stephenie, Law & Order


It's easy to make decisions when it is a popular decision but not easy when it is the ethical-and unpopular-decision. Ethical considerations require integrity, credibility and responsibility in character, courage and the way challenges are met. Grant management has a great deal to do with ethics. You are, in fact, being entrusted with money from taxpayers, a foundation, or other donors. It is up to you to determine what is right and wrong, act on what is correct, and use integrity in handling the money and responsibility of a grant.

Stand your ethical ground in the face of adversity or challenges. Accountability is critical not only for your personal reputation and your future chances at grants, but also for the health of your agency. If your organization is healthy, there is a high value on accountability-people committed to knowing the right thing and doing it.

In an unhealthy organization, mediocrity rules, and weak leaders reinforce a wrong culture where the minimum expected is the maximum achieved. Failing to challenge unacceptable behavior will make that behavior the norm, and ethical people will walk away from situations that would jeopardize their reputation or that of the organization. Act ethically even in the "routine matters" attached to obtaining and managing a grant. Don't sugarcoat to "save" someone or excuse unacceptable behavior. Challenge dishonesty and inconsistencies. Model desired behavior. Policies must be enforced consistently for them to mean anything to the organization and its people.

When unacceptable behavior occurs, your present ethical policy must be applied to take action, investigate, document facts, pursue them to a conclusion, and follow up on the situation to be sure it is not recurring. Be committed to desirable changes that foster ethical behavior. Set the standards of conduct. Use positive reinforcement (praise, awards, or ethics awards) for ethical behavior. Whether it's staff performance, an individual's actions or an organization's mode of business, ethics is the ever-present factor.

Ethics are a mainstay in the world of grants because of the trust and expectations inherent in grants. Yes, it is hard to play by the rules when others don't, but you have to keep to what is right. Ethical perspectives should not shift on the basis of analysis of potential outcomes. There must be commitment to ethical behavior. You will be judged by what you do in your grant application and in the administration of your grant. …

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