The simplest way to understand ethical leadership is to simply look at the meaning of ethics. Behaving with ethics is making smart decisions based off what is right. Being an ethical leader is being free of selfishness and looking at the bigger picture. Ethical leadership is the consideration of tough choices leaders must make everyday. From politicians to environmentalists, being ethical is a core concept in being a successful leader.
This is an extremely important skill to have in order to be a successful leader. Although, that does not necessarily mean that all leaders are ethically intelligent. Some of the most famous leaders in history were more persuasive and manipulative than ethical or compassionate. Does this mean that that leaders, free of ethics, are not as effective or just different?
When determining a leadership approach, laying out your ethical values and rules will foster the most success in determining which styles will compliment you.
The Challenge-Context-Action-Result Model
When I worked as a swim instructor at a fitness center, I was faced with weird and unfamiliar situations multiple times. Being a leader meant I had to keep people happy while motivating them to be a better athlete. The problem with teaching children how to swim, is the parents having incredibly high expectations. Working at a pool with parents surrounding me on every corner, it is hard to catch a break. Being a swim instructor to little kids, I am a leader. My students look for me for guidance, information and confidence. Because one student went down the slide too early with no one to retrieve him at the end, his mother responded immediately with terror. After going underwater for the first time, I picked him up immediately and encouraged his courage. His mother came to complain of the situation and convinced her son that he was in danger. Moments later, he started crying and refused to get back in the water. At that point, he believed my assistant and I did not care about his safety and that swimming was not for him.
At this specific gym, I directly was responsible for working with the parents and coming up with plans to render their child’s success in the pool. This provides fluid communication and an opportunity to form a relationship, but can sometimes be difficult. With this situation at hand, I had to communicate with my assistant, the lifeguards and with my manager. It was overwhelming at first, but open communication ensured each person that we were on the same page and ready to tackle the same problem.
Addressing a challenge can be scary. Taking action is giving your thoughts a shot. I was not entirely sure how to deal with this situation. I doubted whether or not I should appeal to the child or the concerned mother. Once I apologized for the inconvenience, it was easier to find a solution with the mother. I advised her to encourage her child that going under water to blow bubbles was a good thing. I knew that the child was having a hard time assimilating with the group because he thought the water was dangerous. His mother’s response confirmed to him that he should not go under water and that the instructors were not looking out for his safety. This was not true, but the child looked for reassurance and was surprised to see people scared for him.
After talking to my assistant and my manager, I came up with a solution to the problem. Since, my assistant was learning, I felt it was my responsibility to speak on her behalf. of course, multiple people were responsible for the incident, so we all worked together to form the solution. My manager crafted smaller classes to ensure the problem would not occur again. My assistant solely focused on the kids I was not directly looking at. The mother positively reinforced being confident at swim class and looking to me for guidance. The lifeguards were urged to pay more attention, especially with large classes. The student promised me that he would try his hardest and trust his teachers in the future. Lastly, I promised to be clear with instructions and seek help when given large classes.
Teamwork is vital to making smart decisions in an organizational situation. When only given a small period of time, speaking and allowing others an opportunity to speak is the key to success. In this course, we analyzed the aspects of CAVE. This is a creative method of making smart and beneficial decisions in situations with other individuals. Below is the elaboration of the communication style:
Combine: The “C” stands for cohesive thinking. This portion of SAVE is referring to the understanding that you are working with other teammates. Therefore, it is important to understand that your opinion is one of many.
Analogue: The “A” stands for allowing others to speak and knowing how to listen. Being a good team member is using your intelligence to understand the group members deserve respect and a chance to prove their own points.
Visualize: The “V” stands for being creative and open to ideas. This involves taking every aspect into consideration and visualizing how these would contribute to the final solution.
Elaborate: The “E” stands for building off of others’ ideas to reach a decision. After working and communicating as a team, the entire group should infuse all the best ideas into a final decision.