The Five Principles of Ethical Leaders

The Five Principles of Ethical Leaders


Ethical leaders are an important asset to any business, in fact, all organisations should look to employ ethical leaders within their company.

Because of their traits, ethical leaders can have a positive impact on the workplace. They can improve the wellbeing of employees, benefit the bottom line and boost the overall moral. This ultimately results in employees remaining loyal, a lower staff turnover and a higher team performance.

But what makes an ethical leader? According to scholars and practitioners, ethical leaders have five principles: respect, service, honesty, justice and community. Let’s have a look at these in more detail.


Ethical leaders really listen to their colleagues. They will be empathetic and tolerant of others opinions even if their views do not align. Employees will be encouraged to realise their own purpose and values which in turn promotes ethical qualities to spread throughout the business.


This is the primary building block of a moral leader as they will always prioritise the interest of others. Within businesses this is shown through mentorship, performance plans and team building.


Being completely open and honest is something an ethical leader will always do; they are people of complete integrity. For example, they will not promise something if it cannot be delivered and will take accountability if things go wrong.


An ethical leader will apply the same set of rules to everyone, ensuring all are treated equally and given equal opportunities. Fairness is at the core of this and plays a big part in their decision-making processes. If someone requires different treatment for special circumstances then the reasons for this will be clear, reasonable and morally right.


All leaders have goals that they will work towards, ethical leaders work towards these goals while also taking into account their own and their employees purposes, ensuring the goals are suitable for all. Ethical leaders will also take into account the wider community and society, reaching out to organisations to achieve a mutual goal with a positive impact.


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