Leadership is usually effective when leaders are motivated. Self drive is important to attain good leadership. Motivation for leaders is usually cultivated by the getting concerned with others. Leadership is further built by the development of ethical prospects such that there is a clear guideline on what leaders are required to do and what they can omit. Leadership personalities differ from person to person and high moral standards are required for effective leadership. Nevertheless whatever is moral in some communities may be immoral in another culture.
For a leaders to fit in different cultures they must be culturally diversified in their leadership techniques. Ethical leadership is developed depending on an organizational culture. Different cultures are developed differently for different organizations. There are institutions that promote then culture of morality while others may develop a culture of corruption. There are no definite universal codes of ethics designed for particular organizations or associations. However, there are well developed general ethical leadership theories used for the purpose of encouraging unique leadership techniques and moral stability for leaders.
This essay discuses general ethical theories or approaches used on the selection of moral choices. A variety of general ethical perspectives such utilitarianism, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, Justice as Fairness, Communitarianism, Altruism, Ethical Pluralism are discussed. Utilitarian ethical perspective is a theory based on motive of promoting the well being of the majority of people within a community. According to utilitarianism theory, ethical choices are depended on their repercussion. In this case, most leaders explore possible outcomes to their deeds when they make decisions.
Utilitarianism advocates for decisions whose profits outweigh its demerits. These benefits are expected to meet more needs for the majority. In other words, utilitarianism seeks to extend greater good to most people. Many leaders approach situations from a perspective of utilitarian approach in making critical leadership decisions. In some situations one evil may seem a solution and a source of satisfaction of majority of the community. For instance, lying may protect someone’s dignity. Although the lie may protect one leader’s dignity, lies are considered unethical and destructive than constructive.
A good example of such leadership is the case of president Truman of U. S, who decided to end the war in pacific by dropping atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was an ethical decision towards the safety and security of Americans. However, it was at the expense of thousand of lives of Japanese. The war stopped, but the world wondered why the president thought that atomic bombs were the only solution to ending the war. Another outcome was a consistent exploration of atomic bombs and on ground nuclear power test which resulted in numerous cancer cases on humanity.
This is because the public was not aware of the effect on nuclear radiations effect and the leaders did not enlighten them in safety measures. This ethical decision was reached at when the president of America found it more beneficial to safeguard the lives of American than it would cost him in dropping the bombs. He pleased his people by securing them from the war. In contrast, Kant’s categorical imperative philosophy advocates that we must do the right thing regardless of its underlying costs and benefits.
Leaders are encouraged to follow the rules of morality; that we may not need to tell a lie or kill one person for the sake of saving many. Kant uses deontological ethics in which he applies moral reasoning. For instance, he says that if we want to make choices in an important issue it is important to reason first and validate our decision. We should be able to take a decision only if the rest of our society would also pick on the same. In other words, if one is guilty, then they are taking the wrong decision. According to Kant, it is always right to tell the truth no matter the cost but cheating is always wrong.
Several wrong can not make a right just as several lies will never make a truth. Although most leaders use the led as a means to an end, they should learn that humans ought to be treated as the end itself. It is undisputable that humans can be used for the success of others, but they should be respected and supported moral in capacity building. The society need to be encouraged and empowered in decision making as well as being protected against harm. In this context it is not right for production firms to pollute the environment without the necessary public safety awareness and protection.
According to this philosophy one should be ready to help the needy, since the failure to help them is incapacitating them. They need to be encouraged to work and persist in doing right against wrong. Justice as fairness is philosophy that encourages equality of opportunities and rights to all, which works against ignorance. John Rawls researched on justice as fairness and documented some of his articles. In his research, he realized that utilitarian principles would not be applicable in society. According to him, when the largest benefit to the society is delivered there would be some marginalized groups within the members of the society.
Some individuals may never be advantaged at any one point. He therefore encouraged the formation of corporations within the society which would comprise of free, democratic and equal citizen. He believed that this category of people would always strive to alleviate any inequalities among them. They would always try to promote their limited and varied talents and capabilities. For instance, he pointed out that if a national leadership decides to withdraw corporate taxes, the beneficiary is the firm owner and not the free citizens.
In the light of utilitarian principles, generally national economy would grow but citizens must cover for the lost corporate taxes thus thy end up being disadvantaged. Rawls advocates for equality of rights to access basic liberties thus emphasizing similarity of liberties across the society. He further insists that economic and social inequality should be aimed at the satisfaction of conditions of fairness in equality of opportunity availability to all and development of great advantages to the less privileged in the society.
According to him, discrimination of whatever kind; gender or race, poor, immigrants, disabled or marginalized, need to be alleviated. It is clear that inequality exists naturally, but leadership needs to focus on the elimination of the differences. The disadvantaged must be uplifted, empowered and directed towards personal development which has an overall effect of their well being and overall development of the national economy at large. Equality must be sought in opportunity availability, liberty provision, and care for the disadvantaged.
Communitarianism is a philosophy of the 20th century in which individualism was shunned, and communal activity and ownership embraced. These involve the redefinition of individual rights, citizenship relationship with civil responsibility and improvement of public security, safety and health. Redefinition of legal right to the traffic rules and regulation ensure safety for more road users in within the communitarian society. Civic rights communitarians’ society means taking part in civic responsibility like serving the jury.
Communitarianism involves the promotion of community health through the provision of necessary team cooperation, participation, community maintenance, affirmation, and diversification of amenities to serve that community. Collaborative leadership is encouraged in the communitarian. This encourages problem solving based on the collaborative leadership representation in which leaders from diverse categories take part in the solution of civic problems. Altruistic leadership approach emphasizes on leadership principle promoting high moral values some of which are developed from Christianity and Judaism.
This kind of leadership acknowledges hospitality, generosity, empathy, concern for others as well as compassion, in with leadership should promote love for God and for humanity. This kind of leadership is the driving force in many social organizations. Volunteer work, good turn and spirit of giving to the poor and less privileged is advocated for. Through altruism, leaders are bound to experience more risks on behalf of the led. Ethical pluralism is whereby all several ethical theories of leadership are merged and practiced concurrently.
The mixture of the five approaches of ethics is very important in the solution of particular ethical problems and making decisions that would otherwise not be made by use of a single approach. In general leadership is developed by a combination of various leadership principles and personalities. Different Ethical leadership perspectives are used by different leaders to lead the society. Deferent leadership decisions are based on different ethical perspectives. Reference Johnson, C. E. (2004). Meeting The Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light Or Shadow. 3rd Edition. California: Sage publications.
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