Trust and Ethical Leadership

By: Tony Elohor Osokpor0 comments

“Osokpor Tony Eloho: MindForteDynamics Series: Culled from The Asset of Trust: Lap Lambert Academic Publishers, Saarbrucken, Germany. 2012. 07039733488, 08054888291”

“Leadership isn’t value-free. Before we judge any leader to be effective,

we should consider both the means used by the leader to achieve goals

and the moral content of those goals.”

—Organisational Behaviour – Stephen .P. Robbins et al.

This is a very vital aspect of leadership and what leadership should stand for – especially in business organisations. Ethics can be seen as the morale content in leadership; the human face in pursuing and attainment of leadership goals and objectives. This is because leadership is also about followership, which represents people and their varying conflict of emotions, interest, expectations and perspectives. Ethics does not just address only what ends are worth pursuing, but under what conditions it is worth pursuing them. – Fundamentals of Business Ethics…A Developing Country Perspective. J.M. Elegido.

For a leader to be regarded as trusted, there are certain basic criteria which that leadership must scale through. But for early clarity, let us distinguish between two extremes in today’s leadership reality: positional leadership and skilful leadership; this is in the absence of all other modes and issues in leadership, which is common in the flurry of leadership literature today. Positional leadership is most likely a vacuous form of leadership, only driven by the raw power backing it up. Not that all forms of leadership are not driven by the active or latent power backing it up, but in terms of positional power, we have a high level of reliance, or dose of power and the authority that emanates from the ability to apply sanctions. While skilful leadership is the direct opposite; skilful leadership, or leadership with skill, is simply referring to LEADERSHIP WITH CONTENT…. and might we not peer into this package, and try to see this content? Consider the following ingredient of 1. Ethics 2. Honour 3. Integrity 4. Natural inclination to lead (the leadership call) 5. Inspiration to meet certain need 6. Goals and purposes 7. Humility 8. Selflessness 9.consistency 1. — ! The list is almost endless. Consider when all these ingredients are present inside that leadership package to form the wholeness of its content. We cannot have that, usually common notions of leadership, as it is prevalent today. What we have when we have positional leadership, is merely an empty, shallow form of human tendency to want to impose other humans will upon other people, or a few people’s will upon the majority … is this not what we suffer from today in most African Third-World nations, and in all sectors of their economies and daily life? These nations have not attained democratic leadership maturity yet!

So goes the cry for new Leadership thinking in our business environment, industry Leadership responsibility, economic leadership quest, Political leadership and the overall leadership direction and wellbeing of the society and her visions. Without getting this leadership factor correctly, we will find ourselves still rigmaroling in a vicious cycle of directionlessness as a society – this is what I call the new frontiers of job creation, and by extension the satisfaction of all our hue and cry for economic growth and progress, imbibe into, more specially, the youths and younger generations that are behind us right now.

So, what content may define our leadership spirit now? Many people would erroneously think that being emotional and passionate about a cause, automatically equates responsible leadership. This is most unfortunate, because emotions alone, does not define responsible and responsive leaders. Emotions are in themselves traps and may be misleading, when it comes to leadership with content. This is not to say emotions and strong passions are not relevant, but they must have their rational place and play their moderate role. What is most relevant in leadership with content is the NEED or purpose of that leadership; this invariably contains right timing and necessity of the particular call to such leadership role. After all, emotional leaders like Hitler and Idi Amin possessed strong emotions towards a wrong cause!  In short, emotional leadership might even be considered as dangerous, when not properly managed with maturity: most of the dictators of the world’s history were all emotionally-prone tyrants. You may be benevolent; you may bring the greater good to the greater number of people, but might still not amount to giving great leadership, according to the standard of skilful leadership, and leadership with content (it may just be a case of a positional leadership pushing his inordinate power towards positive ends). Ethics demand more than just having a good intention, to issues like mutual respect for humanity’s common standards, tolerance of dissenting views and opinions, accommodation of opposing positions, building and upholding an egalitarian society, just and fair application of the standards, values and traditions, acting intelligently, driving the rank and file for positive objectives and target, etc.

And how wills this count for us as Nigerians in the great future of world leadership domination of the right economic and social ethos? The benefits to be reaped from trust and application of ethical Leadership is boundless! Especially in creating the right jobs and environment for economic expansion and higher levels of mutually beneficial, and society rewarding productivity.

All departments and units of our newly emerging economy will no doubt benefit and begin to experience the energizing effect of increased internalized motivation and greater responsibility towards our success, if this leadership foundation in ethics and hard work is realized.

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