Leadership is an unusual position that is assigned to a person because of the organizational position that it has. The leader is something that dictates the actions of people who are working under the leader. The leaders can be good or bad, which depends hugely on the characteristics of leaders itself. Quality leaders do set examples by doing something, which is good for the humanity. However, the shadow part of leaders is such that they force the people working under them for any of their desirable works (Bethel 2012). The belief, which says that leaders are essential to make ethical decisions in the modern era of working environment, is not entirely true. This is because of several reasons, which would be mentioned in the paragraphs to follow. It has become a topic of debate that leaders are essential for making ethical decisions. This does not hold true in the modern era of working environment (Champoux 2016). Leaders, which have shadow part of leadership characteristics, can never make effective ethical decisions. One of the most powerful examples to support the fact can be extracted from the leadership styles of Ex-US President George Bush who willingly let the attack of planes happened to the World Trade Centre. It was termed as a terrorist attack, which most of the scientific researchers have proved wrong. The scientific evidences indirectly proved that Mr. Bush did intentionally make this happen. This is one of the examples of the modern era, which has supported the debate on the topic that leaders are not essential for making ethical decisions (Ciulla 2014).
For those who think that leadership quality is necessary for making ethical decisions, they have rather the positive connotation about the leaders. They think that leaders are always good, which is very impractical from the perspectives of many believers. They do so because of the fact that history has a long list of leaders that have left a solid impression on the world of history. However, it does not at all mean that all the leaders would be of the same quality. To understand the debate between two groups on the subject topic, it is very important to understand first the modern factsheet behind the crowning of leaders (Conger and Riggio 2012). In the modern era of business or practical life, leaders are selected because of some skills that are operational based. They are hardly checked for behavioural aspects. The growing competition in the modern era in between the organization has somehow forced the organization in thinking for such leaders, which are productive. The biggest point of concentration has now shifted to the production only. The personnel who are well experienced in the required domain of working, they are mostly preferred for the post of leaders (Cooper 2012). Quality leaders have hardly any demand in the changing scenario of business. For example, Vijay Mallya from India who is the CEO of Kingfisher airlines, it has several of corruption recorded to its credit. The world was respecting the particular person and was seeing to him with utter love. However, the perception is changing now because of the scandal cases, which are registered on to his credit. This is one of the simplest example that proves that it is not necessary that leaders are the only who can make essential and effective ethical decisions (Crane and Matten 2016). Mallya was found unethical with the help of caught scandal cases.
It is also important to understand the different kinds of responsibilities that are bound to happen once someone is hired as a leader. This would certainly help in narrowing down the discussion that leaders in the modern era are not essential for making ethical decisions. The selection of leader also gives a collection of characteristics that are well expected from the selectors. The expected characteristics are such as power issues, information, privilege, responsibility and loyalty. Leaders who possess all the mentioned characteristics are good for the society and the organization. However, in the modern era of leadership, the definition and characteristics of leadership have been shifted to a new direction (Day and Antonakis 2012). The leadership is now more of power, which inspires most of the leaders of the modern era. According to Harvard Business Professor Rosabeth Kanter, ‘”for most of the Americans, power is the last dirty thing that they aspire of”. According to her, in the modern era, having discussions on money and sex is the easiest of the tasks. However, it is very difficult to think on something, which is human. Some of the leaders in America have always proved their worth to the world. They are more of dominating character, which they can never sacrifice for anything. The importance of humanity has less importance in the sight of such leaders. Mr. Bush has already proved one of such examples in the accident of World Trade Centre. Unfortunately, abusive nature of power is very common in the modern era. Some of the most brutal leaders have proved the point right that leaders are not bound to make essential ethical decisions (Gasper 2016).
There is a huge gap in between the kinds of leaders in the ancient time and the modern era. It does not mean that ancient leaders were not bad. One of the worst examples of ancient leaders is of Hitler whose activities were very inhuman. Hitler used to put Jews into gas chambers just because Hitler was a Christian. However, in the ancient times, world has also saw a number of ideal leaders that were good for the humanity. Some of the examples are such as Mahatma Gandhi, and John F. Kennedy who dictated the leadership style in a way, which is very different to that of Mr. Bush. This is an undeniable fact that the production of great leaders has been reduced to a considerable amount. Leaders that are not good are bound to make mistakes because power is the only concern for them. Some examples of brutal leaders do very well illustrate the fact behind the topic. Mahatma Gandhi is even respected amongst its haters. This is because of the fact that Gandhi was good for humanity. British might not like the person because of the number of protests, which the person has posed to the British. However, they never ignore the sheer potential of Gandhi (Hollander 2012).
In the modern era, there are several kinds of leaders, which are widely acknowledged not because of their love for human but because of their business success. One big name in this regard is of Bill Gates who is the CEO of Microsoft Corporation. The person has turned the destiny o to his favour; however, it is very difficult to say that if the leader does also has the ideal leadership quality in him. One most important fact in this regard is the distribution of power, which favours more to the leaders. They are the one who has a high rate of access to the unlimited kinds of powers. These are some of the reasons that prove that leaders are believed to make ethical decisions in the modern era. However, the fact is little different from the common perceptions of its followers. In spite of having maximum access to the in numerous resources of the organization, leaders are not very effective in making ethical decisions. For example, Unilever in Pakistan was criticised for not paying the fixed amount of minimum wages to the labours. However, they claimed to do so, which could not be proved from the perspectives of labours. This is one of such instances, which highlights the bad sight of leaders who cares more about their business but not about the human values (Johnson 2013).
It would not fair to claim that all the modern leaders have no skills, which could enable them for making ethical decisions. To understand the gap in the modern time of leaders, it is necessary to understand the different kind of leaders that exist in the modern times. Based on the types of leaders, they can be categorised as incompetent, corrupted, and motivated (Tannenbaum, Weschler and Massarik 2013). Incompetent are those leaders that have less capacity to fight with the challenging situations. These kinds of leaders are danger for the productivity of business and also for its career. These leaders find it difficult to retain its jobs, which is indeed not good for both the organization and the leader itself. This is one of the reasons that are responsible for a huge alteration of leadership in most of the modern organizations. In order to achieve and maintain the competitive advantage in the market, organizations tend to do so (McKee, Kemp and Spence 2012). Corrupted are those leaders, which can go to any level for achieving their evil desire. Productivity is anything to such leaders. In course of doing this, they even play with the ethical values of human life. This is because of the fact that these leaders are criticised for their corrupted behaviours. Motivated are those groups of leaders that are in less numbers in the modern times. The CEOs of different multinational companies such as Walmart USA, Tesco UK, Unilever, P&G, Nestle, Microsoft, apple and Samsung are some of the examples of such leaders, which are highly motivated. They tend to incept the same level of motivation into their followers. This is because of the fact that these multinational companies are immensely successful. These leaders inspire the vision of an ethical standard for leaders. These leaders can essentially make ethical decisions. However, number of such leaders is very less (Menzel 2012).
A less number of productions of such leaders are supporting the fact that leadership is not essential to make ethical decision. Leaders are known and remembered for such works, which have high values for the human lives. However, this is indeed interesting to know that world is not devoid of leaders, it is rather devoid of great and ideal leaders. Leaders are supposed to make decisions that are good for both the humanity and the organization. However, numbers are increasing of such leaders that are productive from the business perspectives but they are not good for the human values. Making an ethical decision for the betterment of business and the humanity is of level task (Pardey 2016). Normal employee have no access to that level but it is worth mentioning that even trustable and experienced employees could also help the organization in making the ethical decision. This is not only limited to the leadership quality but it is also related to all those who have the capabilities but have never tried. One of such examples is of the CEO of KFC, which is giving a strong competition to the world famous McDonalds. At the time when the CEO thought of the concept, the one was not even known to its nearest of neighbours. However, by gradually deploying new and innovative ideas, it became one of the leading billionaire of the world. Some may argue that the leadership quality that was hidden inside has compelled the CEO in turning the odd things into his favour. However, the CEO was just a normal person; the person was not any leader at that time. This indeed is important to understand that leaders are born but they take time to prove their worth to this world (Sims and Quatro 2015). Moreover, this also means that leadership is not confined only to those people who are recognized faces and are serving the organization by being at the highest position. It is rather hidden things, which needs to be identified. This simply proves that leadership quality is not the one thing, which is required to make ethical decisions. It rather requires the understanding of ethical values and the personal credibility to deliver on the self created chances. Moreover, all the leaders are not efficient enough to make ethical decisions but only those who can turn the world into their favour (Pava 2015).
Positioning someone to the leadership position does not hold any guarantee for the commencement of ethical decisions. It rather depends on the true leaders that are seldom born in this world. The ancient world has seen so many of such leaders; however, the rate of production has been reduced to a lower number in recent times. It would be very wise to conclude the study that effective leaders are essential for making ethical decisions; however, all the leaders are not necessarily effective in leadership.
Bethel, S.M., 2012. Making a difference: Twelve qualities that make you a leader. AudioInk.
Champoux, J.E., 2016. Organizational behavior: Integrating individuals, groups, and organizations. Routledge.
Ciulla, J.B. ed., 2014. Ethics, the heart of leadership. ABC-CLIO.
Conger, J.A. and Riggio, R.E., 2012. The practice of leadership: Developing the next generation of leaders. John Wiley & Sons.
Cooper, T.L., 2012. The responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role. John Wiley & Sons.
Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
Day, D.V. and Antonakis, J., 2012. Leadership: Past, present, and future. The nature of leadership, 2.
Gasper, D., 2016. Ethics of development.
Hollander, E., 2012. Inclusive leadership: The essential leader-follower relationship. Routledge.
Johnson, C.E., 2013. Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Sage Publications.
McKee, A., Kemp, T. and Spence, G., 2012. Management: a focus on leaders. Pearson Higher Education AU.
Menzel, D.C., 2012. Ethics management for public administrators: Leading and building organizations of integrity. ME Sharpe.
Pardey, D., 2016. Introducing leadership. Routledge.
Pava, M., 2015. Leading with meaning: Using covenantal leadership to build a better organization. Macmillan.
Sims, R.R. and Quatro, S.A., 2015. Leadership: Succeeding in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Routledge.
Tannenbaum, R., Weschler, I. and Massarik, F., 2013. Leadership and organization. Routledge.
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