At the heart of every leaders’ master role…is ethical leadership.
Traditional leadership generally involves the exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the ethical-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
The highest priority of an ethical leader is to encourage, support and enable subordinates to unfold their full potential and abilities. This leads to an obligation to delegate responsibility and to allow others to engage in participative decision-making. Ethical leadership emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and well-founded standards of right and wrong use of power.
The leadership principles of “ethical leadership” emphasizes the idea that leaders should care as much about their subordinate’ needs as their own, and view leadership as an act of service. This concept, not only develops an excellent corporate structure, which has the potential to treat colleagues in an exemplary way, thus leading to the excellent treatment of it’s customers, clients and colleagues, but ultimately influences our society in a very positive way.
Being an ethical leader can boost engagement, increase trust, and build better team relationships. Every leader should be driven by serving it’s teams as teachers, mentors, and coaches. It’s our job to help your team remove impediments, not to become one.
Let’s explore this concept further! Remember the biblical truth that says,“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel”? The phrase comes from something Jesus said to the leaders of His day. This is an excellent example of leaders as “impediments!”
Jesus launches into what could best be described as a tirade against them! He doesn’t hold back in his indictment of them, and calls them names like “hypocrite,” “family of snakes” (technically, he calls them a “brood ofvipers,” but that’s the meaning), and “whitewashed sepulchers.”
In continuing, He calls them all hypocrites! Why? He’s saying that they’ve picked out the smallest, least trivial laws and protocol, to focus on; and that they take pride in doing these least trivial protocols, while completely ignoring the most important matters, like justice.
These withering words of Jesus, part of His lengthy denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees, are some of the most sobering in all of the universe. Upon further introspection, we should note that we never find Him speaking this way to tax collectors, (the obvious thieves of the day, who overcharged the people and set aside the excesses, for themselves), prostitutes or even the Sadducees, (who were the religious liberals who rejected much of the scriptures!)
So situations like the recent comments such as those voiced by Roseanne Barr, and other such pervasive mindsets and movements, that do not focus on ethics, morality, unbiased judgement; are just ‘par for the course’ (not good, but it is normal and is expected), and the responses to these unconscious biases, are just this: our world’s straining at a gnat, (focusing on small things) while swallowing a camel (ignoring much larger issues).
Jesus spoke to the crowds, to not copy the leaders because they do everything for the wrong reasons. The real issue here, is legalism; leaders observing the details of their own protocol, but blind to the big picture; avoiding a whole list of other things more “weightier!” These lists vary, but legalists focus more on the specifics of these lists rather than on general principles of excellent living.
Now there is nothing wrong with being meticulous in practices, unless you hurt others, and demand that they follow your example. Unscrupulous leaders impede growth and progress, place heavy, cumbersome societal loads on the masses, yet they are not willing to lift a finger to lead the progression of the “weightier matters,” (being ethical, unbiased in judgement/justice, and unfailing loyalty)
These legalistic leaders are blind guides, being self-satisfied in being just a place-marker, a figure-head, (which is what hypocrisy/means). They are creating difficulty for others.
What about Us? How Should We Live?
Not all leaders fit the description of legalistic blind guides; some leaders ARE guided by ethical leadership and justice, and not legalism. When it comes to addressing the controversial issues of the day, this is a challenge that has confronted every generations.
Each society has its own ethical strengths and weaknesses. This will look different from one culture to the next. No matter how graciously we tell the truth, it’s unavoidable that people will get upset. Nobody likes to have their beliefs and actions challenged, especially in a climate where all such challenges are labelled as intolerant and hateful.
Faith-filled believers, who are ethical leaders, are called to be salt of the earth, and a light to the world, and to seek the welfare of each other and of the ones to which they lead. In other words, we’re to act as a cultural preservative, a source of health and wisdom to those around us. Part of that mandate is to speak out, not only against injustice but every form of moral wickedness that harms individuals and societies and invites judgment from God.
If leaders are guided by legalism, if they major in minors; they strain at a little gnat, yet swallow a whole camel! They are an impediment to life and change, and to everything that is good!
REMEMBER: It’s your job as leader, to help your team remove impediments, not to become one!