So far, the 21st century has not been kind to business leaders. The list of failed companies and disgraced business leaders far outweighs those who have been successful. I am not referencing those companies and leaders who failed because of outright corruption, greed or dishonesty. That list is long enough, but however lengthy, it pales by comparison to the level of corporate leadership that has purely and simply failed, putting numerous well-known and previously successful companies at risk.
Here is what I mean.
We have all read about the travails of AIG, General Motors, Hartford, Lehman Brothers, Chrysler, Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, Merrill Lynch and
many others. There were no (proven) illegal or immoral acts by the leaders of these companies, and yet their companies either failed or came close to it; many of the companies survived only because they were given a government bailout. And let’s not forget the executives of BP and Toyota. Their actions certainly don’t qualify for a badge of effective leadership?
Without doubt, the leaders of these companies were admirable people, who meant well, worked hard, felt they maintained their ethics by doing the right thing, while using the leadership techniques that had propelled them to the top of the pyramid.
So what went wrong?
In light of this situation, one can only surmise that these companies brushed up against failure because of a failure of leadership. But what really went wrong is that these leaders failed to recognize that times have changed. Not so long ago – in simpler times – top and bottom-line growth (no matter how achieved) was the only standard of measure for business leaders. The simplicity of that business model and the abuses it perpetuated has caused the very fiber of the business world to unravel – and to do so quickly. The standards of ethics and the techniques of leadership learned and practiced by these leaders became outdated and ineffective; they’re the very stuff of which these recent business failures are made.
Clearly, we are living in new economic times and if we as a society are going to effectively respond, it is incumbent upon us to grow a new type of leader.
In today’s challenging business environment it is not enough for leaders to be ethical in the traditional way, which is “doing the right things that are required to be done.” Instead, these times call for growing of a new type of leader who views ethics as “doing the right things that are not required to be done.” This is what I call “ethical leadership” which is doing more than what should be done and doing all that can be done.
My belief is that it is possible to absorb what we have learned regarding ethics and leadership and then to take it one step further to merge the two concepts into true ethical leadership. Those who do so will break out of the crowd and emerge as exceptionally effective new type of leaders. There is nothing complicated or secret about this new order of leadership. It has only been a secret because it is not taught and rarely practiced.
In an effort to change this and promote a new brand of ethical leadership, I have written a book with titled Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm – Growing New Leaders for New Times.
In this work you will find numerous examples to show that those who learn and practice “ethical leadership” will differentiate themselves from the traditional leader and achieve remarkable levels of success. The book also highlights numerous specific tactics and actions individuals can adopt to raise their leadership skills beyond what is traditionally accepted.
And the Moral of the Story …
If you want to get a leg up on traditional leaders and distinguish yourself as a new type of leader, I encourage you to buy a copy of the book and start down the path to ethical leadership.
You can obtain a copy of Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm by clicking here. I think you will be glad you did.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about the general concepts of “ethical leadership,” I encourage you to visit this site often,