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The Ten Commandments of Ethical Leadership

Copyright © 2010 by Ty Howard.   All rights reserved.

One of the toughest tasks for a leader, no matter what type of team you’re leading, is to earn the ongoing respect and trust of those you’re leading, while still ensuring the accomplishment of the set vision, mission and goals are attained productively and ethically.

Barbara MacKinnon, retired professor who taught primarily on the history of ethics and contemporary ethical issues at the University of San Francisco, wrote a book called Ethics: Theory & Contemporary Issues – Concise Edition (Wadsworth Publishing, 2010). Mackinnon states, "Ethics is a branch of philosophy. It is also called moral philosophy. Although not everyone agrees on what philosophy is, let’s think of it as a discipline or study in which we ask―and attempt to answer―basic questions or key areas about subject matters of human life and about pervasive and significant aspects of experience" (Chapter 1: Ethics and Ethical Reasoning, p. 3).

Ethics is defined on Dictionary.com as a system of moral principles, and as the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.

It's definitely clear that leadership is about others, and ethics is about you.

Ethical leadership relates to the ethical values that should guide a responsible leader’s character and code of conduct. The Ten Commandments of Ethical Leadership establishes guiding principles for all of us to follow. The intent behind the creation of these Ten Commandments is to establish a set of standards to instruct and encourage leaders on all levels to continuously and consistently lead―ethically. Read on to learn, practice and master these Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments of Ethical Leadership

1. Thou shall not use their leadership position to bully or harm other people.

2. Thou shall not practice or encourage dishonesty, disrespect or devaluing.

3. Thou shall not avoid serving others.

4. Thou shall not divide or tear-down teams, organizations or communities.

5. Thou shall not treat followers, team members or people unfairly.

6. Thou shall not become a member of the self-centered, arrogant and inappropriate behavior club.

7. Thou shall not throw people ‘under the bus’ to make themselves look competent.

8. Thou shall not appropriate other people’s work, efforts or accomplishments.

9. Thou shall be a good listener, be transparent, and be a critical thinker at all times.

10. Thou shall lead by example―and never with excuses.

The Ten Commandments of Ethical Leadership are the means to build individual leaders through a code of conduct and standards that will overtime produce more and more leaders with strong, unwavering ethical values and character.

Do you have any additional "Commandments" you think should be added to this list of Commandments of Ethical Leadership?
Do share...


About the Author: Ty Howard,
Mr. Untie the Knots®,
Freeing Maximal Business, Performance, and Human Potential Daily

Ty Howard is an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance and success. He is the creator and lead facilitator of the trademarked "Untie the Knots® Optimal Performance Process," and the author of Untie the Knots®: Improving Habits, Choices, People, Relationships, Performance and Results, as well as dozens of published articles on employee and organizational performance and development worldwide. For information on his programs and services, visit: http://www.tyhoward.com.


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