Hello and welcome to the Leadership Done Right Podcast Episode #3 — Why Leaders Should Have Moral and Ethical Standards.
In today’s business and leadership environment, it is more important than ever that leaders live and conduct themselves with high moral and ethical standards. Leaders face more challenges than ever before coming from every angle. With social media, blogging, YouTube and a wide variety of other platforms, leaders can be exploited. Their actions can be taken out of context, and they can be challenged in a number of other ways.
Moral and Ethical Standards to Live By
Even with all the challenges, however, leaders can do three things to ensure they have moral and ethical standards.
First, leaders can strive to be honest in every way.
For leaders to be honest, they must be honest with themselves and with others.
- Honest with yourself
- Do what’s right no matter who is watching
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Be completely truthful with everyone
By being completely honest with yourself and with others, you don’t have to fear that one day a lie will come back and haunt me. That will give you a clear conscience when you go to sleep at night.
Second, leaders should strive to be humble
When you are the leader it can be very easy to get a big head thinking you got there all by yourself so you are great and wonderful and everyone else isn’t. This is a very bad attitude because it hurts the relationships you can potentially develop with others. Instead, be humble, recognize your role and recognize the roles of others, and focus on being a team!
Third, leaders must have integrity
Integrity is also very important because without it, you don’t have anything. The old saying that your word is your bond is just as true today as it was 50 or 100 years ago. It is very important to live so that people can trust you and value and trust what you say.
Now we’re going to talk about an example of why honesty, humility, and integrity are important.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson. He was in the news because he had only been with Yahoo for a short time and already was making major layoffs. Well, shortly after that he was once again in the news except it was for his dishonesty.
Over the first few months when Scott Thompson took over as CEO, Yahoo has continued to struggle. Then when Yahoo did a regulatory filing, it was encountered that Scott’s resume erroneously said he had earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science when in fact he only had a degree in accounting.
Dishonesty — The Cover-up
What was even worse was that he tried to cover it up by first claiming innocence. Scott blamed the erroneous resume on the executive search firm. From there, Wall Street Journal Article Yahoo CEO’s Downfall stated, “Ultimately, Mr. Thompson’s comments, some of which were disclosed on tech blogs, angered the search firm, which the CEO didn’t name but which was Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.
The firm placed Mr. Thompson as chief technology officer of eBay Inc.’s PayPal unit in 2005. To clear its name, Heidrick struck back by calling Yahoo and showing documents it had received from Mr. Thompson containing his inaccurate biography, said people familiar with the matter.”
Ultimately, Scott Thompson’s downfall came because of his dishonesty. When the “mistake” was made, there weren’t many things he could do to fix the situation. Whether or not he actively lied about the resume or just lied after the fact is unknown, but he was deceptive and dishonest when he lied about what had happened. His dishonesty will probably haunt him for years to come.
As a recap, to be a leader with high moral and ethical standards, it is very important that you do your best to be honest, humble, and have integrity. If you don’t, your leadership will be insincere and your leadership will likely fail. It may not happen right away, but will eventually happen. Having honesty, humility, and integrity is always the best way to go.
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