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Answers for Seekers: What is Ethical Leadership?

We decide what to breathe into reality with each word we utter. Ethical leaders are those who invest significant time and energy into making sure they are a force for good in their communities, regions, and nations.

According to a study by the UK Institute of Business Ethics:

  • 63% of managers report they have been asked to do something contrary to their own ethical code
  • 43% of managers report they have been told to behave in direct violation of their organization’s value statement
  • 9% of managers have been asked to break the law

The new Ethical Leadership Institute at Saint Thomas University offers three degrees. It will be spearheaded by two prominent figures in the state. Tony Andenoro, a former professor of the University of Florida who gave a TEDx Talk on the subject of ethical leadership, and Don Slesnick, a former mayor of Coral Gables.

Bachelor of Arts in Ethical Leadership Online
Master of Ethical Leadership Blended
Doctor of Ethical Leadership Online

The time we live in uses a different operating system than that of the past. Leadership itself has changed. Ethical leadership is ultimately a lot like inspirational leadership, which you may have already heard about. Read on to find out how the new ethical leadership program at Saint Thomas University can help you avoid scandals and bring about positive change wherever you go.

What is Ethical Leadership?

Ethical leadership is at the intersection between psychology, philosophy, and citizenship. One of the core ideas of our curriculum is that the goal of real education is not zombie-like memorization. It is positive human change.

Technically speaking, you might say:

Ethical Leadership /ɛθɪk(ə)l ˈliːdəʃɪp/
Verb. is an intentional attitude aimed at leadership that facilitates good communication between two parts of your brain, the fear-and-emotion part (amygdala), and the experience-and-memories part (hippocampus).

The ethical leadership curriculum at St. Thomas University provides a platform that shows your brain how to do this and allows you to respond as a strong and integral leader to the world around you.

An ethical leader wants:

  • To make his/her own decisions
  • To learn about Good
  • To be Good
  • To Create
  • To Inspire

What Does an Ethical Leader Do?

A 2011 study by Cornell linked ethical leadership to employee performance. Let’s back up a little bit, though.

Throughout the majority of the 20th century, it was assumed that companies were just big soulless machines that based all of their decisions on a single bottom line: profit. This began to change in the 70s, but remained limited to considering only the ethics of the shareholders until corporate accountability became universal with the rise of the internet.

Today, ethics in the workplace is important for all your bottom lines. In fact, companies like Starbucks, Toms, and Patagonia are all proud advocates of an accounting system called the triple bottom line, or 3BL. The three bottom lines, by the way, are financial, social, and environmental.

A company today cannot afford to be known as shamelessly self-interested as they could pre-internet. Customers are empowered in today’s world! We might not all listen to each other, but everybody has a voice. An example of this is Yelp.

In this world, it is important for a company to have values, even if they are not perfect values for everybody. It is the ethical leaders of a company that imbue it with these values.

The ethical leadership role in a company can come about in many ways. The following are actual careers for ethical leaders:

  • CEO
  • Chief Ethics Officer/Chief Integrity Office
  • Crisis management professional
  • Fundraiser
  • Public relations agent

Who Are Some Famous Ethical Leaders?

Theories of ethical leadership may be different according to different cultures and philosophies, but one thing they all share is that bravery is key. Anybody can be bold. Ethical leadership can propel you forward in any industry you choose.

To illustrate this, here are a few concrete examples of ethical leaders. These names belong to industry leaders who are known as engines of progress and balance.

Elon Musk — entrepreneur & engineer

He’s a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He is also one of the world’s most divisive figures. Ethical leadership, however, is not about making everybody happy. Musk is considered an ethical leader because he does not compromise his values for anything. His mission is to get people to Mars and one way or another, and he’s going to wring himself out to do it.

Rose Marcario — CEO & activist

She’s the current CEO of Patagonia, a brand that is revered for its integrity. The point of ethical leadership is to have a coherent brand that revolves around an unbreakable central promise. In the case of Patagonia, that is founder Yvon Chouinard’s legacy of environmental conservation and sustainability. Patagonia is a clothing brand that encourages customers to exchange and repair their clothes rather than buy more. In fact, they offer and publicize repair services that they operate themselves at little-to-no profit.

Craig Newmark — philanthropist & programmer

He’s the founder of Craigslist. Say what you will about the website itself, the brand is immaculate. Newmark has even kept the barebones HTML style of website design because he is fierce about not turning the endeavor into a tech corporation. To him, Craigslist is a simple online commune. He has been quoted saying his business philosophy is “not non-profit, but minimal profit.” Newmark is also an avid philanthropist that puts his money where his mouth is. His donations total more than $143 million.

How Much Does It Pay?

The job of an ethical leader is that of any other leader. However, within a company, there is a surprising amount of room for leadership. The CEO is not the only guy who needs to inspire, cheer, and resolve.

The amount that ethical leaders earn depends on the job title and the company. The following are just averages. The amounts earned for CEOs and fundraising managers, in particular, vary tremendously, according to careerexplorer.com:

  • $178,517 — CEO
  • $98,112 — Chief Ethics Officer/Chief Integrity Office
  • $73,745 — Project manager
  • $66,829 — Public relations
  • $63,091 — Reputation Management
  • $51,290 — Fundraiser

How STU Can Prepare You For This Field

Ethics and leadership are at the core of what St. Thomas University is. Our university has set out on a campaign to find and develop leaders who understand what it means to be a servant leader and a force for good.

Enroll today to learn from political leaders, TED speakers, and award-winning professors.

“God is that which confronts the chaos of potential with truth and courage.” – Jordan Peterson

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