top of page

Ethics and Professionalism

An ethical leader's mission is simple and bold. "We want to make the best, for the most, for the least." Like powerhouse couple and industrial designer team Charles and Ray Eames, ethical leaders aim to create the best authentic opportunities for the most significant number of students and educators in the least problematic way. They achieve this through their core values.

Every decision and action an ethical leader takes reflects their values of courage, honor, and commitment. Courage is their foundation. Courage continuously develops mental, moral, and physical strengths to overcome past, present, and future challenges. Courage provides strength and stability for the future by encouraging them to do what is right under pressure, make tough decisions under fear, and conduct themselves professionally under stress. Honor is the cornerstone that guides their actions to be honest, moral, trustworthy, and integral. It compels them to act responsibly and fulfill their legal and ethical obligations at all times with a higher standard of accountability. Finally, commitment is the keystone of determination and dedication. It provides the structure for their actions to be disciplined and inspiring—these building blocks aids in making the right decisions or moving at the right time. 

When a situation presents a conflict with an ethical leader's values, they will adjust the direction of their actions through a process based on the Guilly Guidelines for Ethical Decision Making:

  1. A leader will determine who will be affected by their actions.

  2. They will understand what is in each individual's and their school's best interest. The leaders are vested in their efforts, with personal and professional consequences.

  3. They will research and develop a plan of action to meet the current and future needs of the situation. 

Most importantly, their actions must be fair to everyone involved, clear-cut, and entirely legal. If their actions result in a moral or legal consequence, leaders cannot take them. In addition, their actions must demonstrate consistent care and respect for everyone involved. They will take action only after considering these factors and their options. Then, they gather a variety of feedback and reflect on their activities. This process guides their efforts, actions, and decisions to align with their core values.

By repeating the same Guilly Guidelines process before each decision, an ethical leader will develop it into a habit, eventually becoming an automatic reflex. These leaders already have value centers. It will become second nature for the leader to act based on their purpose by knowing who they are and "what is the right thing to do?" This leader will establish honest relationships with followers through sharing and listening over time. The relationship will develop from continued communication into trust, transparency, hope, and integrity. This process will lead them to show compassion and become a positive force in their followers' lives. The process allows them to achieve their goals by becoming more self-disciplined, focused and determined. With each new decision, they can learn from their past experiences. Thus, it encourages them to become more optimistic and confident in their decision-making abilities. This process will enable them to become more resilient and persevere through complex challenges. In time, these leaders will become authentic, ethical leaders. 

All leaders' decisions affect their followers; authentic, ethical leader decisions positively impact them. A positive influence in followers' lives motivates leaders to do the right thing. By doing the right thing, followers are then self-motivated to do the right thing. These leaders will develop their abilities in conjunction with growing their followers' abilities. Their collaboration and discussion will be authentic and meaningful. These leaders advance their followers to become leaders who dare to make decisions using courage, honor, and commitment. 

Ethics and Professionalism
bottom of page