Almost all corporate and business leaders I have met talk about fairness, accountability, integrity, being ethical, leading by example and a number of other values and policies that their organizations have come up with.
The question is, are these leaders fair, ethical, accountable, responsible and practice what they actually tell the others? To take this argument a bit further, are those that are ‘teaching’ or ‘preaching’ something in line with what they are saying? Do they have any experience in what they are asking others to do?
I have a number of examples in which professors teach a theory they have never applied in the real world; I have a number of examples where politicians have stated one thing before elections and acted the other way after elections. I have a number of examples where leaders promised something and changed their mind. I have a number of examples where fairness was not evident in a certain promotion and numerous examples where people lied, backstabbed, had hidden agendas – at the same time – were ‘preaching’ values, consistency and integrity. Welcome to the real world…
Ask yourself if you have your own cases and if you have been a protagonist in such an example. Being ethical, consistent, fair and accountable seems not to be as easy as people think. Sometimes, these individuals get caught into the politics involved in a company, but that does not justify their behaviour. Consequentialist approaches usually favor the organization, not the individual.
Corporate governance can also help an organization to direct and lead an organization and its people through arrangements that safeguard assets and deter behaviour. Plato however states that “good people do not need laws to make them act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws”.
Remember it pays off in the long run to be consistent, ethical, keep your promises, apologize if you had to change your mind after promising something and to actually “do” what you preach. It is simply doing the right thing. It is simply being OK with yourself and leading by example. We need to set the tone at the top. It also helps you sleep at night and make your children responsible citizens. At least we have a responsibility to them.
Bite Size Thoughts by Dr. Constantine 'Dino' Kiritsis