Magazine article Public Management

12 Steps for Ethical Leadership

Magazine article Public Management

12 Steps for Ethical Leadership

Article excerpt

1. Hold yourself to a higher standard than is required. Your action may be legal but unethical. Some people see a line in the sand and ask how close they can get to it without crossing it. This line, however, is a starting point. Stay as far away from the "unethical" line as possible, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Be sure your local government has an ethics law or ordinance. Just as important, actively promote and reinforce the ethical values that your organization supports.

2. Openly share information. Go beyond the technical requirements to disclose any personal or financial interest you may have. You gain public trust when you fully disclose information in a timely way.

3. Stay out of politics. Exercise your right to vote, and be a good advocate for your local government's position with the state legislature and Congress. But do not show favoritism to members of your governing body or to any candidate for office. Just say "no" when candidates ask you to sign their petitions, give them a contribution or endorsement, or help them with their fund-raising activities. And do not run for elected office yourself unless you are no longer employed in an appointed local government position.

4. Keep your word. If you accept a job, honor this commitment unless the fundamental terms of employment change.

5. Don't accept or solicit gifts. Some special interests or powerful individuals may assume they can buy your influence. If your organization doesn't have a policy, establish one so that employees understand the reasons they cannot accept inappropriate gifts.

6. Tell the truth, and take care to be accurate. Your resume should be complete and accurate. Likewise, your local government's financial and operational reports should reflect the highest standards of accuracy and clarity of information.

7. …

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