When discussing business leaders, often times you will hear the words passion, hard work or determination as the keys drivers for success. But maybe the most important factors of all, is slowly become overlooked. These factor are ethics and trust.
As Arthur Gensler discusses in a Fortune article, the lack of a clear sense of ethics in a business leader from employees, clients, or the community at large can send the signal that you may only care about money. A business leader that is able to create authentic trust with others will likely be more successful down the road.
Ethics refer to the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior. There are no shortcuts when it comes to being ethical. Either you do the right thing or you don’t. As the former CEO of General Electric puts it, “Can you look in the mirror in the morning and be proud of what you’re doing.” If you make decisions based on this principle, other people will take note and be inspired to make the same types of ethical decisions themselves. This will eventually lead to a more ethical business practice as a whole.
The biggest responsibility of a leader is to educate their teams about the firm or group’s ethical code, it’s values, and provide examples of how to assess and react to difficult situations. Promoting transparent and ethical operations procedures begins with the leader, and will only lead to a more cohesive and committed group.
When employees firmly believes that the business leaders are practicing ethical business themselves, they will be more inspired to think positively about their work and will exhibit more trust and confidence towards both leadership and co-workers. Employees will be inspired to act honorably to fulfill their defined duties in accordance to the shared company values.
Building trust within the company itself will inevitably spill over to the clients side as well. When a client knows that you are honest and direct with them, they will be more willing to work through challenges and they will serve as a referral source for future business. When clients hear a genuine and uniform attitude from company employees they will understand and believe for themselves that the company operates under ethical principles.
A truly successful business leader understands the importance of leading by example and how it will positively impact their employees and the clients they serve.