Why a Chief Ethics Officer is Important

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  1. Ethical leaders have to worry about, articulate, and embody the purpose of an organization. The real ethical leadership implies an ability to share such a purpose in an authentic manner and a company looks for the leaders with these qualities. People in organizations know whether the leader really embodies the organizational purpose or not. The second factor that is connected to the former is that ethical leaders have to create mechanisms of dissent. If a purpose is important to somebody, guideline regarding overcoming of behavior that is inconsistent with the purpose is crucial. Without the mechanisms of dissent, it is impossible to improve the company’s performance or obtain a constructive feedback. Having a conversation about ethics, values and purpose is also necessary. The conversation has to be alive, showing what the company is and its purpose and values have to inspire and manifest its identity features. The above elements comprise the job of an ethical leader and it is not about telling people what to do, but about embodying the organizational purpose, creating the mechanisms of dissent, and live conversation about how the values of the organization and its purpose create value for stakeholders (Terris, 2005).
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  3. Leaders always have the perspective of the larger scope, understanding why the company is going where it is going, and how to communicate to the team in order to explain the purpose to the employees. A leader challenges the perspectives of the followers and establishes the rules for them. Employees need to be oriented towards the essence of values and the expectations for responsible conduct. An effective leader has to cultivate self-awareness and establish the organization’s ethical standards while also setting high expectations (Mihelic, Lipicnik & Tekavcic, 2010). Workers tend to focus upon the standards that are set for them. Setting realistic goals is especially important as punishment for not meeting the objectives or providing the unreasonable rewards for exceeding them will result in employees losing focus on the ethical aspects of their actions. Eventually, they will concentrate entirely on meeting the goal (Terris, 2005). Realistic goals and moderate rewards for meeting them are a good combination.
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  5. Ethics, leadership and business success are absolutely intertwined. There is no hope of sustainable business success without strong leadership, and there is no possibility of strong leadership without an unwavering commitment to ethics. It is a foundation of productive functioning of every company. Basic principles are critical to assist in achieving success today, in times of great uncertainty and change. People work in the chain, so to speak. For instance, if they see their supervisor doing something unethical, they are more likely to follow similar behavior themselves. Ethical actions of the company leaders serve as an inspiration for the employees. Personal examples set by a company’s leaders are the most important factor for developing strong ethical culture. To facilitate ethical action by subordinates, it is necessary to communicate and manage company’s culture in a consistent and responsible way (Gnazzo, 2011).
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  7. The Chief Ethics Officer has a role that is growing in its importance. Chief Ethics Officer is primarily responsible for two main tasks that promulgate the ethics throughout the organization and can take a form of developing ethics codes or facilitating conversations about ethics (Terris, 2005). On the other hand, such a position in an organization can be presented as being an ombudsman or having open-door policy for ethics. If there is a concern about an ethical issue anywhere in the organization whether in finance, production, or manufacturing, people can come to this person in order to reveal their issues and get assistance in finding an ethical solution to it. To base these policies on the others’ needs and opinions, Chief Ethics Officer has to be aware of other people’s perspectives and be able to see the entire spectrum of ideas in regard of a situation, the impact on different individuals, and the downstream influences of a decision. Many people cannot adequately evaluate problematic moral situations, and therefore, look for external support in the ethical dilemma context (Oates & Dalmau, 2013). Hence, one is the leader of their organization to whom they primarily address. The moral climate of a firm is mostly influenced by the behavior of its leaders. What is more, employees can eagerly copy unethical behavior even more willingly than the ethical conduct of the leaders. When there is a non-ethical supervisor who is always trying to bend the rules or even break them, such an obstacle is creating the toxic environment for everybody in the institution because people will try to do the same. If it is a big institution and they set such bad standard, this circumstance can impact the community because the people who work in the firm will eventually leave and take their toxic culture to other institutions.

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Rules are important, but people should not be the slaves of the rules either. The best companies are the ones that create a culture where their employees can voice their concerns to their chiefs. As Dr. Frankl said, people should have the right for their own choice; still, their behavior has to be consistent with the corporate culture. If the employees have their part in establishing the ethical norms, they are more likely to follow those norms while also having their own choices. It is easier for people to meet the expectations if they know them. The careful drafting of a code of action, with input from others in the organization, can be helpful. After that, leaders have to introduce working practices consistent with these goals. The content of the ethical norms needs to be effectively communicated to the staff, and employees need to understand a crucial role to their and company’s commitment to adhering to them. If employees believe that the norms are not justified or they are mistreated, they are more likely to engage in corrupt or otherwise unethical actions. To promote ethical behavior and create moral workforce, it is essential to treat the staff fairly in all aspects of a company’s work. Employees need to understand the reasons for taking specific actions or going in a particular direction, as well as the underpinning of the guideline that assists in accepting managers’ resolutions by the workers even if they do not fully agree with them.