Is Ethical Leadership Still Relevant Today? | Inquirer Business

Is Ethical Leadership Still Relevant Today?

/ 05:32 PM June 17, 2021

This is the question that troubles many who work in many government and private sector offices, where such leadership is rare.  In fact, when we encounter ethical behavior, we are amazed and ask ourselves if there is some way to encourage and perpetuate this attitude.

We asked our resource person, Mr Dino Badilla, for some of his thoughts and tips on this matter.   Here they are:


Ethical leaders are a rare breed in organizations. Often despised & unpopular, they swim against the corporate current of the easy and dishonest way of doing things. They begin as idealistic. Then they experience initiation and awakening to the reality of corporate politics and greed. You can be certain that you need to play the game of corporate politics if you want to survive and win in your organization.

Ethical leadership however, begins among “a few good men” in their departments and teams. They set an example in every decision as they demonstrate respect and integrity in an environment of trust and accountability.


According to the 2018 Global Ethics Business Survey by the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, “Employees who see evidence of proactive communication and workplace trust are 15X more likely to think that their company measures and rewards ethical conduct.”  When leaders manifest ethical conduct at any level of leadership and they are rewarded for it, the entire organization notices it. This is where corporate culture is established on the foundations of trust, honesty & transparency.

Ethical leadership is business leadership that still pursues growth and profitability, but not at the expense of morality and ethics. It is a kind of leadership that promotes high standards of integrity and fairness in all levels of the organization.

Ethical leadership can be the norm in your organization by encouraging the following traits:


Ethical leadership entails a firm sense of belief that the best and only way to move the organization and achieve its vision is to base corporate decisions on sound values of the organization. Business propositions and strategies should be based solely on an ethical culture and principle that it shall benefit the greater good and not just the bottomline. In the midst of this pandemic, health care fraud & abuses have already been the focus of congressional investigations. In the recent past, lawmakers have exposed possible insurance fraud and have publicly accused Senior Vice Presidents (of a GOC) for corrupt practices in legislative hearings. Investigations of these allegations are ongoing.  However, records show that these men and women have years of earnest managerial and ethical performance — attested by fellow employees, medical organizations and other government stakeholders. Their personal lives demonstrate simple lifestyles. Apparently, investigations have shown that these honest officers have “rocked the boat” among corrupt colleagues so they had to be “taken out of the equation” with false and stretched accusations by the real syndicate within.


Strong commitment to ethical behavior within an organization creates a safe environment where the goals and values of people working in the organization are aligned.  Employees experience a safe space where their skills are acknowledged and maximized for the benefit of the organization. In the midst of the pandemic, the COO of a conglomerate led a massive outreach program, counting on the widespread support of volunteers, employees and organizations to assist medical front liners and disadvantaged communities.  This has impressed their government partners and inspired its organization and stakeholders. While other corporations worry about keeping afloat in a crisis, this leader has risked his gains by giving more  away, and by talking about concern for others who are more adversely affected by the pandemic.


Ethical leaders provide clarity of vision of the organization’s culture, values and beliefs to promote the highest standards of ethical behavior. Constant and effective communication enables all members of the team to work together for the good of all. In his first three months, Pope Francis successfully connected to the people with his simple and straightforward leadership style focusing on “the poorest, the weakest, the least important.” Constantly, he challenges the clergy to reach out to those who are marginalized in society. His example of ethical leadership earned him the admiration and commitment of people around the world, from different faiths.

Ethical leadership equals productivity and profitability as well. When business leaders demonstrate professionalism, creativity and a strong sense of purpose in the organization, they inspire loyalty and power that accelerates their influence to a level of business success. People recognize ethical leaders when they manifest trustworthiness and magnanimity. Ethical leaders are men and women who consider themselves as worthy of achieving great things. They are fully aware of the price that comes with doing great things despite the competition and the corruption of the system. Thus ethical leaders demonstrate grit and collaboration for which they attract people into their leadership circles and lead them to the achievement of profitability and purpose.


Badilla will conduct a virtual workshop on “Ethical Leadership: Lead with Competence and Integrity in Times of Crisis”. The first batch will be  on July 6-7, 2021.

For your online learning needs, Inquirer Academy could assist you in designing and facilitating a webinar or virtual workshop for your organization.

For more information about the workshops and schedule of online courses offered by Inquirer Academy, please email [email protected], or send SMS at these numbers 0945.2158935 / 0998.9641731.

The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.

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