Ethical Leadership | AGSM @ UNSW Business School



The way I'd define ethical leadership, particularly today, is around a capacity for an individual who exercises leadership to engage in acts of what I would call constructive subversion. Leaders have got to have the moral courage to challenge the unthinking custom and practise that so often leads good people to do bad things. Now, that takes remarkable moral courage to do but unless you're doing that you're not really exercising leadership of an ethical kind. When I think about ethical leadership and what it is in today's society it really speaks to a deeper capacity for reflection and problem solving, discernment but not just critical discernment it also involves a moral discernment of what is the right and good way to move forward. In one sense all leadership is ethical leadership and we've heard that at this course today. I think that ethical leadership means operating within an ethical framework not just bringing commercial or legal criteria into decision making. Having a decision making process that involves an assessment and appreciation of the ethical constraints within which the decision has to be made.

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