Ethical Leadership and Communication



In this video, we're going to talk about
ethical leadership, specifically how ethical leadership relates to
transparent communication. We're going to look at a model of transparency and how
it applies to organizational settings. So let's unpack the details. Hello they're
friends. Alex Lyon here. And today we're going to talk about ethical leadership.
Normally on this channel we're talking about communication and leadership. And this topic is near and dear to my heart. I wrote about this in my book. I'll put a
link to this in the description below the video. You can also visit it on the
website as well if you would like. Today we'll talk about my bird's-eye
view of ethical leadership specifically about communication, and then I'll unpack a three-part model of transparent communication that's in that book.
First, here's my big picture view on ethical leadership. Ethics is everybody's
responsibility. And it's not just because it's the right thing to do. Bad decisions
are often bad because they are unethical. In other words, unethical behavior is bad
for business. If you look a lot of the problems that we've seen in
organizations over the past 15 or 20 years, a lot of them started internally
with bad unethical decision. So it's not just about doing what's good because we
want to do what's good and be good people. It's because [unethical behavior] is going to also
destroy our organizations. So I really believe that part of this is
communication. We often see a tension between secrecy and transparency in
organizations. And on the side of secrecy, that's where a lot of these
problems begin. So I believe and agree with Matt Seeger and Rob Ulmer, they wrote about this in an article in Management Communication Quarterly, that leaders
have what we call communication-based responsibilities. They have a
responsibility to be informed and get informed about any of the potential
problems that are happening in the organization, to create an atmosphere
where those problems can be identified, and then solve those problems. so there's my bird's-eye view on transparency in organizational settings. And now I want
to get into this three-part model. Let's unpack it. So on the flip side of
this model of transparency we have this issue of secrecy.
And that's usually a sign of trouble and usually something you want to avoid. It
leads to lots of unethical behavior in the long run. So let's talk about this
organizational transparency model and it has three parts. The first part is
organizational openness. When you have an open organization, all the
compensation, hiring, and firing decisions are all pretty obvious. Everybody knows
the rules of the game, the way you get projects approved, or maybe not approved. It's all really open people understand the expectations and that's the kind of
organizational openness you want, where everything is out in the open and plain
to see. The processes are not secretive or hidden. A lot of times if
people don't know how things get approved, how people get hired or get fired, how you get a raise, you end up with a really political kind of organization that can turn
negative. And so you want to create processes that are really open, and the
rules of the game are obvious. The other part of organizational openness is the
obligation to speak about problems that you see. You have an obligation to talk
as Karl Weick said because if you're not speaking about problems that you see you end up with what Karl White calls pluralistic ignorance, where you see a
problem, something that looks out of place or odd but you don't say anything
about it. And then the next person maybe sees that same problem but doesn't say
anything about it. And everybody knows there's a problem and no one's speaking. So it's
called pluralistic ignorance. And by speaking about it, by having that
obligation to talk when you see a problem, you puncture pluralistic
ignorance. And then the problems can be identified early and solved so.
Organizational openness is a huge part, to establish this culture in this
atmosphere, to lead to more ethical communication and leadership. The second part of the model is information sharing. Information should be shared widely
because high-quality information leads to better decision making. If you find
that you're in a context where people are holding back information or leaving
specific details out because they want to get something approved, that's a sign
of trouble. That's another type of secrecy. the reason you want to share
information is because if you get all the information on the table you're much
more likely collectively to have a healthier
decision-making process that you can really move the organization forward. If
you're basing your decisions on have truths, on strategically ambiguous
information, you're going to end up with poor quality decisions. Nilsen, one of
my favorite authors, called this idea significant choice. People have the right
to make an informed choice about the significant issues in their lives and in
this case in organizational settings. If you're going to base information on
manipulation on partial information, you're going to get bad decision-making.
the third part of this model is candor. Every once in a while you're going to
have to have a conversation about a sensitive topic, oftentimes the topic
might involve somebody personally. And here you need a mixture of open and
honest communication but you also need a balance of care and kindness. To me,
candor is both of these things. You don't want somebody who's brutally honest with you. You just want them to be plain spoken about the issue, to broach the
topic so you can solve their problem. They have to do that with care. You don't
want to be the kind of person, and maybe you know the kind of people, that will
end up hurting people's feelings routinely and say well I was just being
honest. Yes you need to be honest and open. You need to be candid but you also
need to do that with care and that way you can have difficult conversations
without fear that you're gonna hurt people's feelings all the time because
you're too brutish in your approach. Those are the three parts the model.
Question of the day. Which one of these you find most difficult in your
particular professional setting? I would love to hear your comments in that
section below the video. So thanks. God bless. And I will see you next time.

4 thoughts on “Ethical Leadership and Communication

  1. Information sharing has been a great help at the law firm I'm lending a hand at these days. It's a small, tight-knit group, but the firm is growing so there's a greater need to share information and prevent silos from forming.

  2. Thank you. I am a group of 1. 8 of the last 9 years in bed because of pain from a car accident. This last year I have fought World War Me. I still can't get out much. But the miracles that came from the trials include being able to help a million of my peers to get the elephant off their chests. That miracle deserves clear, concise communication. I study all your work, even though I'm a group of 1. We will make a difference.

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