For purposes of this study the leader in question was interviewed from a medium sized firm that has recently experienced a restructuring. The leader was the President of the manufacturing division. The leader believed in ethical leadership which he defined as a means of leading with integrity and value (Brown & Trevino, 2006). Ethical leadership is a tool that leaders can use to motivate employees and improve performance (Brown & Trevino, 2006). Brown & Trevino (2006) note that ethical leadership compares the construct of an ethical leader with ideals of a moral dimension of leadership. These ideals include spiritual, authentic and transformational ideals of leadership (Brown & Trevino, 2006). Ethical leadership can motivate the organization along with motivate employees to succeed and achieve organizational goals.
A leader is an individual with the ability to select, equip and train people that work for an organization (Johnson, 2015). While there are some people that manage, they are not necessarily leaders. Leaders have the unique ability to inspire employees, to help employees perform well and to motivate their employees to succeed. Employees can lead as much as managers can lead. Leadership is something that can be learned, although some people have the innate ability to lead. Ethical leaders are those leaders that attempt to bring out the best qualities in people, so they can work not only for themselves, but also to enhance the mission and fulfill the goals of the company that they work with (Johnson, 2015; Brown & Trevino, 2006). They may have diverse abilities skills and objectives that cause their employees to enthusiastically expend their energy toward the growth of the organization. A leader also has the ability to recognize the diversity of the individual’s they work with.
As a leader, it is important that people are considered as equals on the team. When an individual on the team isn’t pulling their weight, then the team becomes unequal. When people on a team are not pulling their weight, the first step is to communicate with the person. Providing this person with a reprimand, and then instruction regarding their job duties is vital to their future success as part of the group (Winston & Paterson, 2002). At times, it may be necessary to reorganize teams, or to provide additional training to members of a team to help all members of the team.
One of the greatest leadership challenges that the leader in this organization has ever faced, was laying off approximately 40 percent of the people in the organization and restructuring the organization. Motivating and re-empowering the employees following this was challenging. This took time. Winston & Paterson (2002) notes that leaders face challenges that include restructuring, and change which is ever present in the organizational context.
The leader described the communication style used as humanistic. De Vries, Bakker-Pieper & Oostenveld (2010) suggested that human-oriented leadership styles are critical to successful leaders. Leadership that is humanistic is task-oriented. The humanistic communication style supports treating employees as empowered individuals, capable of sharing knowledge and satisfaction with the leaders as well as their own performance.
In the situation where organizational restructuring was needed, effective interpersonal communication skills were refined to help inspire the team to commitment to a new organizational structure. Team members were asked whether they were satisfied with their new roles, and were asked to contribute to the new organizational structure and team mission (Johnson 2015).
Staff are provided with an overview of the organization’s handbook. In this is a statement of the organization’s commitment to ethical business practices. In addition to this, as a manager, Johnson (2015) stated that he meets with team members individually and in a group to describe his goals for the team. Part of team goals and efforts include a commitment to ethical business practices. These include supporting the team in a way that promotes the integrity of each person, values, and achievement of personal along with organizational goals. Team members are encouraged to report any misconduct, including stealing or other actions that would compromise the integrity of the organization or the team.
Personal actions the leader has taken have included acting in a morally upright manner when working with employees. This includes acknowledging employee efforts in a positive manner when employees engage in actions supporting their job functions. Employees are provided with regular performance reviews. These reviews are objective. Employees are also provided opportunities for constructive criticism, and opportunities for further training in areas where improvement is needed. As a leader, the organizational CEO engages in frequent communication with the members of each department, and shares his commitment to community outreach and providing the employees with a positive and engaging work experience (Johnson, 2015).
In one instance, company employees were provided with the ethical business code via an employee portal. However, when employees were queried as to what the ethical code meant to them personally, few could relate ethical codes or the company code to their personal work duties and daily responsibilities. Brown & Trevino (2006) note that ethical leadership requires that a leader clearly communicate ethical responsibilities in daily leadership activities. Communication and role modeling are solid methods of communicating the ethical responsibilities of a leader and the expectations a leader has for employees. Thus, the leader engaged in request interaction and encouraged managers to have team meetings where conduct and expectations were clearly discussed with employees to resolve miscommunication of ethical expectations to team members.
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- Personal Interview. Jack Johnson, Melview Corporation. December 3, 2015.
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