Ethical leadership is an important factor within any workplace, but first, we must be able to define exactly what that means.
Ethical leadership means acting according to moral principles in day-to-day business life and decision making. This is a complex subject because each individual will have different views on religion, culture and personal beliefs. However, being aware of these differences and sensitive to other people’s views is what makes a good leader.
So, why is ethical leadership important? Creating strong connections with colleagues and employees based on honesty, fairness, and integrity reinforces our company values and provides value to the individuals and business. When a workplace is filled with a positive company culture that is diverse and inclusive, it often leads to greater levels of creativity and employee satisfaction.
Principles of ethical leadership
There are several principles to ethical leadership, and each principle plays a part in decision making. At Rockwell Automation, we embrace honesty, fairness, quality and responsiveness as guiding principles. Being a strong leader requires communicating truthfully with each other to build trust and respect. But it also involves putting fairness and integrity at the core of business decisions. This means giving everyone equal opportunities and chances from the beginning of the hiring process through to personal development.
Ethical leaders also place employee wellbeing and welfare high in their esteem, and we encourage activities such as team building, mentoring and non-work-related calls. This often necessitates leading by example, so we encourage senior leadership to avoid setting up meetings or calls with other team members in lunch breaks and have regular check-ins to make sure they are coping with work life and home life.
In our everyday life, we make decisions, both unconsciously and consciously. Those unconscious decisions will be automatic and effortless, whereas conscious decisions require deliberate thinking, which involves slower and logical thought processes. And so, improving ethical leadership skills involves time, attention and practice.
Identifying potential trigger situations or ethical dilemmas such as working from home, recruiting new talent, or work adjustments will help leaders think carefully about how to behave with integrity. Preparing in advance, assessing the situations and getting advice will help make ethical decisions and actions. For example, developing a Code of Conduct and embedding it in the company values, conversations, and performance evaluations is a good way to encourage participation and celebrate positive moments.
Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic you cannot pour from an empty cup so to speak. As leaders, you must focus on meeting your own needs as well as others. Employee wellbeing accounts for both mental and physical health.
To understand the depths of employee wellbeing, the Innovative Workplace Institute developed PROWELL, a model for assessing the workplace’s performance concerning health and wellbeing. The assessment is categorised into three domains: mental, physical and social. Under the mental health domain, there are two categories: cognitive and emotional wellbeing. This recognises individual potential, morale, participation and job satisfaction.
Whereas the physical domain of employee wellbeing consists of four components: physical fitness, physical comfort, physical nourishment and environmental wellbeing. This refers to the use of breaks and acceptable working environments from a health and safety perspective.
Finally, the last domain is social wellbeing which includes communication, support and belongingness. An important factor is to ensure employees feel valued and integrated as part of the team – this often relates to diversity and inclusion within the company culture, as previously mentioned.
So, how many of those factors are affected by the recent pandemic? To put it simply, all of them. With most people working from home due to the pandemic, this can harm the wellbeing of employees, particularly the social and environmental needs. These changes require adaptation and support. And so, if you have concerns about a member of staff, it’s important to help provide the necessary resources, whether it be health, childcare or needing an extra hand when it comes to planning and time management. These are actions leaders can take to keep employee morale high.
Last year, Rockwell Automation was recognised as one of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 13th time by Ethisphere, a renowned voice in defining and advancing ethical business practices standards. This assessment includes more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity and initiatives. Therefore, we place a high value on integrity in every business decision we make as we are committed to making positive changes throughout international communities.
For more insights on industrial leadership, visit our Management Perspectives Hub: https://www.rockwellautomation.com/en-gb/capabilities/connected-enterprise/management-perspectives.html