Employee Handbook: Moral Leadership and Ethics


  • Introduction.
  • Moral Leadership and Ethics.
  • Leadership vs. Management.
  • Conclusion.


In any business organization, there are a number of stakeholders involved, starting with the employees, customers, suppliers and the management, among others. Therefore, there is the need to ensure that all these people interact and relate well with each other in order to achieve the set goals. Moreover, leaders are needed who can give directions to these people on how they ought to do things and the reasons as to why they are to do things as directed. One of the ways of ensuring that there are good relationships between all the stakeholders is to have moral leadership and ensure that people act in an ethical manner. Additionally, for any person to succeed in business, one should have both leadership and management skills though these requirements are not met by many leaders, as they do not know how to differentiate them (Gill, 1998, para.3). This paper entails a discussion on moral leadership and ethics as well as a description of leadership versus management.

Moral Leadership and Ethics

Ethics involves practices pertaining to custom and displaying the expected character while morality has to do with what is right or wrong. In leadership, any of the two terms can be used to mean the other. That is, they can be used interchangeably. The work of any leader in an organization is to ensure that they make maximum use of employee’s energy, capabilities and abilities as well as give them clear direction on how they ought to do things so that they can achieve the set goals and objectives. In order to do this, leaders ought to be well equipped with moral values since in most cases the workers are not able to deliver due to being mistreated by their employers, managers and fellow workers to a point that they do not see the need to inject some efforts into their work. As a result, it is important to cultivate the virtue of morality in leaders since studies have shown that most of the leaders that we have currently are not morally upright. For instance, in many occasions these leaders have been seen to overwork their employees besides have a poor relationship with these employees.

Moral leadership involves a person regarded as a leader acting in an ethical manner and inspiring others (followers) to conduct themselves in similar ways. According to Wharton, (2000) a moral leader is one who is able to treat people in an organization well as he/she interacts with these people every day. This is the case since morality has to do with the way we relate with other people and ourselves in an organization as well as the respect that we give to ourselves and others. In many instances leaders act immorally without knowing as in most case they do not consider of the motive behind their actions and the impact these actions on others. Moreover, leaders’ learned behavior (habits) that may be negative could impact negatively on their employees and sometimes leaders may just do things intentionally to harm others. The main reasons that lead to having immoral leaders are: a leader failing to recognize moral behavior as a key concept in leadership and inability to know how they can act morally.

Moral leadership entails respecting others by being aware of the motive behind one’s actions, one’s behavioral patterns and the impact those actions will have on other individuals. Moral leadership also involves giving people clear standards of working and ensuring that they are accountable as well as being committed to the right course (Rhode, 2006, p.8). Additionally, a moral leader displays qualities such as honesty, trustworthy and stewardship through expressing the willingness to accept and acknowledge one’s own mistakes instead of putting the blame on others. In order to ensure that there is moral leadership in an organization, the leaders must monitor their behavior and the way other people treat others in the Organization (Wharton, 2000, p.1).

As mentioned above, ethics entails the customs and characters as well as beliefs held by different people that enable them to judge an action as either right or wrong. In addition, ethics encompasses values, norms, culture, and it is a key concept in leadership. For instance, some of the values like honesty, mercy, loyalty, justice, love that are core in ethics are very essential to leaders (Ciulla,2004,p.197).

Moral leaders should act in an ethical manner. For example, they should have the moral intent, judgments, values and policies, among others. In addition, they do not have to over-use their powers and have to exercise their authority in an ethical manner and make ethical policies. Therefore, organizations should seek to teach their workers on what ethics are and how they are acquired as this will lead to moral leadership. Moreover, moral leadership is very important as it ensures that there is improvement in the standards of the organization as well as the standards of life and ensures long-term success of the business (Maguada and Krone, 2009, p.214).

It is important that each organization possesses clear codes of ethics to ensure that there is improvement in the qualities of the organization. Ethics and ethical behavior are very important to leaders because they help them to act morally thereby developing good relations with others. For instance, if a leader is faced with a moral dilemma on how he/she ought to act, there is the need to think carefully about the dilemma facing this leader and evaluate all the available options. After which the leaders have to choose carefully on the option that is most ethical thinking through the consequences of the decision made.

Leadership versus management

Leadership and management are terms that most people do not understand and sometimes they are taken to be similar and can often times are used interchangeably. e Other people consider the two terms to be so different to the point that they even state that one cannot be both a good manager and leader (Gill, 1998, par.3). However, in the current society, it is important to understand that both leadership and management skills are essential for the success of any business as some of the management functions can be used in providing leadership and some activities involved in leadership can be used in management of an organization or a business. Even though there are some similarities that exist between leadership and management such as the role they play in influencing employees and exercising both powers and authorities, some differences do exist between the two terms beginning with their definitions.

Leadership involves leading people and influencing them in order to achieve a common goal and doing the right thing while management involves managing tasks and directing activities in the right way. There are many differences between managers and leaders and the main one is in the way they motivate their followers and the people they work with. Additionally, managers have subordinate staff who work under them due to the reward that will come thereafter and not because they do not have any say.

This style of management is called Authoritarian transactional style. Moreover, managers themselves are subordinates and receive their salary from other higher authorities. In addition, the fact that most of managers come from stable backgrounds, they always seek comfort even at their job places. On the other hand, leaders have followers and appeal to them to follow the right procedures by making them understands the benefits that will come there after. This style of leadership is a charismatic, transformational style as leaders do not have to tell their followers to follow them but their strong charisma is the one that will draw people to them.

Moreover, leaders relate well with people, they often reward those who perform excellently and they are ready to be corrected in case they commit mistakes. Furthermore, leaders are risk seekers unlike managers as they may have had problems while they were young which they had to overcome. Moreover, leaders enjoy doing their work and they work towards achievements while managers work so that they may get money thus they are result-oriented.

Leaders are concerned so much with what is right and give credits to those who perform well while managers are concerned with them being right and in case the organization performs, they give themselves credit without considering the workers. In terms of their powers, leaders are bold and the way they do things is because of innate characteristics while managers’ power depends on the roles and tasks they have been assigned. Leadership and management are therefore different but in some cases, one will be required to use both the skills of leadership and management. For example, a project manager has to manage the resources allocated for the project as well as seek to build a strong team where she /he will be required to use leadership skills. In addition, when it comes to delegation of duties, one must have a plan on how things will be done and then persuade some people to do the work (Ciulla, 2004, p.156).

Management and leadership also vary in terms of roles. For instance, management focuses on planning, organizing, problem solving, controlling, coordinating, making decisions, budgeting and managing time and money. That is management focuses on work and manages activities of the work such as money, materials, equipment and paper work. However, leadership involves leading people and focuses on vision, inspiration, teamwork, listening, training, mentoring, motivating and counseling. In terms of essential skills requirement, leadership skills include coaching skills, listening skills, creativity and inspiration skills, among others while management skills include technical, human skill and conceptual skills.

Moreover, management involves setting rules and procedures to be followed as well as preventing problems from occurring and in case they occur, management skills are required in solving the problems. On the other hand, leadership involves team building and coalitions as well as motivating and inspiring workers. In addition, managers develop incentives and come up with creative solutions to the problem while leaders empower all their followers and satisfy all the unmet needs (Ricketts, n.d, p.3).

Other differences between managers and leaders are that managers are involved in administrative activities while leaders are innovative. The other difference is that managers will just accept reality without any questioning or investigation while leaders will do some investigation before accepting reality. In addition, managers pay a lot of attention to structures and systems of the organization while leaders pay attention to the people in their daily activities. Lastly, managers always seek to know how workers are going to accomplish a certain tasks and by when while leaders seek to know what workers are doing and why they are doing things that way.


The essay provides an in-depth description of moral leadership and ethics in addition to looking at the relationship and difference between leadership and management. It is evident that a leader is a person that guides others and gives them clear directions on how they ought to do things and react to different situations. A research done recently has indicated that most of the current leaders do not act morally and in many cases, they exploit and overwork their employees. The reason as to why leaders act like this is due to lack of an understanding of the motive behind people’s behaviors and the impact this behaviors have on other individuals.

In other cases, this is due to their inability to control the personal desires to the point that they will do anything at the expense of every body so long as they gain that which they want. It has been stated that moral leadership is very important and it involves treating others well and respecting oneself. One of the key values that promote moral leadership includes respect, honesty, stewardship and trust. On the other hand, ethics that encompasses norms, culture and values help in promoting moral leadership. Moral leadership is very important as it promotes the standards of an organization as well as ensuring the success of the organization. It has also been noted that for an organization or business to succeed, individuals ought to have both leadership and management skills. However, many people confuse these two terms with some taking them as synonyms while others say they differ so much, but as shown, the two terms vary in their definitions, roles and characteristic though they have some similarities.

Reference List

Ciulla, J.B. (2004). Ethics, the heart of leadership. New York: Green wood publishing group.

Gill, R.K. (1998). Leading organizations: perspectives for a new era. New York: Sage Publishers.

Maguada, A.B and Krone, R.M. (2009). Ethics and Moral leadership: Quality linkages. London: Rutledge, Taylor and Francis Group.vol 20(9).

Rhode, D.L. (2006). Moral leadership: the theory and practice of power, judgment, and Policy. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Ricketts, K.G, Community, and Leadership Development. (n.d). Leadership verses Management. UK: University of Kan Turky.

Wharton, L. (2000). Moral leadership: A pipedream?. Web.

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