Ethics in Leadership Communication


Ethical conduct is about acknowledging the right thing and performing what is expected (Kidder, 2001). Understanding the ethical conducts become critical to the communication leaders. Even though what is right might be viewed differently, conducts that are below the universal expectations constitute unethical behavior particularly on the part of the leadership (Kidder, 2001). As such, ethical leaders must behave in a manner that is expected depending on the situation, cultural norms, profession, rules and regulations. Besides, leaders need to communicate and establish behaviors that add value to the organization (Denning, 2007). One of the most important attribute of ethical leaders is that they are capable of acting ethically and their decisions are based on ethical principles. Secondly, such leaders manage the organization and the people under them ethically. In other words, ethical considerations are taken in their daily interaction with employees, management approaches as well as the course in which they direct the organizational initiatives.

The Importance of Ethics to the Communication Leaders

Even though the degree in which ethical behavior is acceptable varies among the communication leaders and the organizations, the significances of ethics to the communication leaders and the organizations are standard. In other words, the importance of ethical practices is common in all the organizations. Ethics models the moral conducts of the leaders as well as to the organizations or communities in which they have the influence (Denning, 2007). In other words, adopting and following ethical principles shape the moral behavior and values within the organization.

Ethics permit leaders to communicate values that enable them to built trust with the audience (Denning, 2007). Ethical principles and values enable leaders to base their leadership abilities on trust and confidence. People follow such ethical leaders because of the trust and confidence that they will act rightfully and according to the expectations. A part from trust, ethical leadership creates credibility and reverence (Kidder, 2001). Leadership communications based on ethical standards generate respect and integrity not only within the organization but also externally.

Adopting and upholding moral principles in the organizational activities also enhances collaborations. The majority of organizations and leaders would be willing to collaborate with those leaders that uphold ethical standards and principles in their dealings (Black, 2008). In addition, ethical leadership creates good working conditions within the organization. Ethics enables leaders to share power and deal with their junior employees in a straightforward and respectful manner. As a result, employees are empowered to perform their jobs effectively, which in turn increases the general performance of the organization (Black, 2008). Therefore, ethical principles enable leaders to empower the employees, bring about the job security they need and become dedicated to the organization and their work.

Why Leaders need to adhere to Ethics in a Global Communication

In the current global environment, ethical consideration is one of the main priorities within the organization. In fact, organizations find it critical to be ethically responsible in order to remain relevant in the global marketplace (Kidder, 2001). Essentially, leaders have found it critical and compelling to make ethical values a priority in addition to the social responsibility initiatives (Weil, 2007). The 21st century society is highly advanced and sensitive to unethical behaviors (Weil, 2007). However, such organizations that adopt ethical recklessness do not thrive (Weil, 2007).

The other reason is that the global marketplace has become highly competitive and advanced in terms of technology. As such, leaders have found ethics to be the moderating factor while keeping a breast with speedy technical advancements, competition, available opportunities and constant threats arising from the industry (Kidder, 2001). As an organizational priority, ethical values will result in decisions that benefit all stakeholders and ultimately breed an institutional culture that promote right actions (Denning, 2007). The ideal ethical standards within the organization can only be attained when the organizational structures and communication processes are aligned with the ethical values. The main goal of ethics within the modern communication organizations is to create relationships based on moral conducts that last over a long duration (Denning, 2007). Therefore, communication leaders should not only take into consideration ethical values for the purpose of defending their reputation but also to exploit emerging opportunities.

Even though ethics have remained a critical consideration for leaders while communicating in the 21st century market place, certain organizational leaders still find integrity a challenging factor (Weil, 2007). Tolerating unethical behavior in order to improve the outcome is not only illegal but also destructive. For instance, the CEO of one of the tobacco firms, R. J. Reynolds T. B., was found guilty of hiding critical information with reference to the nicotine addictiveness. The cover up not only destroyed the reputation of the firm but led to its final closure. In contrast, the CEO of Hewlett and Packard established an organization culture that values ethical integrity through his actions, ideals and perceptions that portray moral conducts. As a result, Hewlett and Packard thrived as the most ethical firm in the decade (Weil, 2007).


Even though the majority of leaders acknowledge the critical need for ethics, some find it challenging to integrate ethical values in their daily communications. Essentially, leaders must find ethics as a critical social responsibility in which they are indebted. Good leaders normally take advantage of the available opportunities to shape the organizational future through influencing a culture that communicate ethical values.


Black, C. (2008). Basic black: the essential guide for getting ahead at work (and in life). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press

Denning, S. (2007). The secret language of leadership: How leaders inspire action through narrative. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Kidder, R. M. (2001). Ethics is not optional. Association Management, 53(13), 30-32.

Weil, N. (2007). 5 things I’ve learned: Thoughts on leadership, ethics and the 21st century from Carly Fiorina, HP’s former CEO. CIO, 20(15), 1-10.