Ethical Leadership – Can Doing Good Mean Good Business?

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We see examples of unethical behavior every day – celebrities paying for their kids’ college admission, Facebook sharing data from 50 million users, and our own government officials being accused of unethical acts and behavior.

It’s infuriating, to say the least, and it creates a sense of cynicism where ethical leadership seems like an oxymoron. But there are inspiring examples where doing the right thing means getting ahead. And there are a number of global factors that are driving serious ethical reflection in corporate decision-making.

The best example of ethical leadership is corporate social responsibility (CSR), a self-regulating business model that drives companies to conduct their business in a way that is ethical. It takes into account their social, economic, and environmental impact and consideration of human rights.

The fact that CSR is firmly embedded into business practices is encouraging in itself. And even more so when you consider that it has been driven by people – investors, employees, and leaders, suppliers and customers. The message is clear – we will invest in, work for, partner with, and buy the products of businesses that conduct themselves ethically. How a company measures up against key CSR tenets is a competitive advantage – or disadvantage. Every day we see examples of customers and investors demanding that companies publicly make a stand for values like inclusion, empathy, and environmental preservation.

Now company executives are taking a stand. Just a week ago reported that leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said they plan to abandon the long-held view that shareholders’ interests should come first amid growing public discontent over income inequality and the burgeoning cost of health care and higher education.

This is a major step in the right direction. At PRC, we deeply support this movement towards ethical leadership and CSR. We love to work with companies that have integrated ethical and values-based decision-making into their strategic planning, organizational development, and team-building practices.

In our role as experts in leadership development programming, it is our job to understand the values that drive ethical decision-making for our clients, and then ensure that those values are reflected in all aspects of leadership and team training.

It’s not always easy, however. Ethical leadership and putting values into practice is complicated but it’s some of the most rewarding work we do! If you need support incorporating your values into your leadership development and training, let’s talk.

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