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An ethical workspace should be the goal of every organisation.

Not because it is the moral and ‘right’ thing to do but also because ethical leaderships and workspaces that strive to provide a culturally safe environment are prone to high success rates. It is important for leaders to care – not just for their customers but their staff too, and this can be achieved through all-rounded leadership that looks to grow the organisation and its people. Let’s take a look at the importance of ethical leadership, how to ethically lead, and how we can promote this in the workplace without having to make drastic changes.

Ethical leadership in a nutshell

Many managers fail to take into account how much their staff observes and absorbs from what they do more than what they say. Because leaders are role models by nature, employees naturally follow their lead. The practice of ethical leadership is difficult and cannot be divided into easy phases. However, there are characteristics that help leaders become ethical leaders, and following these steps can help your staff feel at ease being led by you, as well as get inspired to follow in your footsteps. Here’s how you can ethically lead…

Good leaders lead by example

To create an ethical workspace, you as a leader need to understand that your actions, words, ideas, as well as values are important and probably will be looked at by more people in the workplace. It is to align with the company or business values as those will easily be executed through your work and staff. When people are led by people who are not afraid to do the work themselves, show a hunger and yearning for learning and growth, as well as are compassionate, it makes staff members feel like they are in the right place. Remember, people follow leaders they find inspiring but rapidly lose faith in those they don’t. People will soon quit listening if you say all the proper things, but they are perceived as empty. Through leading by example and serving as an ethical decision-making role model, you encourage others to emulate you and start raising their standards, expectations, and performance.

Encourage open communication, but be realistic

Staff members generally find leaders (or bosses) slightly intimidating, so opening up platforms for your staff members to “be honest about the company” may not give you desired results. You will need to find avenues and mediums that will help your staff communicate with you in a more private and intimate way. This not only makes them feel safe to express themselves but also tells them that you want to listen to them as individuals and not paint them with the same “employee” brush. A human-centric leader usually has fewer negative reviews from staff members because, by virtue of offering people open and honest communication, you curb the risk of having them act otherwise. Give people time; some employees may find a certain medium of communicating their company views and challenges a bit out of their comfort zone, so you will need to be able to adapt to different ways for different people. But don’t worry; a skilled leader is able to easily do so. On the subject of skilled leaders…

Be teachable

A great leader or manager is one that is ever-evolving. Not just to understand your company and business objectives but your target audience and staff members too. Leaders often manage other leaders and managers, and there are different levels of management and coaching needed for every type of department or hierarchy you are managing. To fully understand that your leadership, coaching and management should not be linear, an MPhil Leadership Coaching from Stellenbosch Business School will arm you with the skills to establish your credentials as a leadership coach. This means you do not just know how to lead ethically but how to help other leaders do the same too.

Challenge policies and procedures

Truthfully speaking, the new normal has presented new ways of working. Meaning that many employees have preferred methods of functioning within a company. This will sound like the ‘communication’ section earlier; however, it is slightly different. Reviewing sick leave and absence policies and procedures and adapting them for the world of online and remote work has been a topic of conversation among many companies for some time now. Considering ideas such as a “mental health day” over and above formal sick leave for employees puts them at ease, knowing that they do not have to be physically ill to take a break as burnout may occur should they not enjoy some time away. Many successful businesses and organisations pride themselves in offering their employees support, and such initiatives are part of that support. Also make sure sick leave regulations and pay are adequate to help reduce presenteeism brought on by the fear of losing revenue.

All-rounders are needed but should not be forced

If there is a need to have more than one leader or manager in a company or business due to the different things they bring to the company, so be it. A great leader knows and understands that delegation is important to help grow the company. While leadership requires a level of all-roundedness, it is important to not over-exert yourself with acquiring the necessary skills in a short space of time. Speaking of time, the MPhil Leadership Coaching is a blended learning course that allows you time to continue being the leader and manager you aspire to be while still learning the necessary skills. Enrol today and change your, your company and your community’s lives for the better.

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