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How to be an ethical leader?

Companies need leaders who inspire their human capital, set an example to follow and contribute to a good work environment.

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Each stage in human history has required different types of leaders . In much of it, the military leaders have been the agents of change (such as Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and Winston Churchill); but there have also been spiritual ones (like Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Buddha), intellectuals (like Aristotle and Friederich Nietzsche) and business or technological ones (like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and John D. Rockefeller ).

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In the 21st century - a time that many experts consider "postmodern" - the leaders that both countries and organizations require are ethical ones . Those who inspire people to act correctly and achieve extraordinary results. They are the leaders who lead by example and manage to gain both the trust and commitment of their followers.

In this leadership style, qualities that we previously considered essential for the leader, such as the power of persuasion, self-confidence and charisma, have been left behind. A true current leader is not the one who has a big smile or the one who reflects a position of power just by his presence; but one who knows how to inspire others through their own actions.

Today more than ever, companies need (and are in a constant search) of this type of managers and managers who, above all, consider the human and intellectual aspect of their workers, respecting their dignity and enhancing their skills. Why? Because their work teams are much more effective and loyal, so they are also more motivated to achieve the objectives of the companies.

A true current leader knows how to inspire others through his own actions / Image: Depositphotos.com

Be and seek an ethical leader

As an entrepreneur or business leader, your leadership goal should be to develop your sense of ethics. It's about cultivating values like honesty and humility, and understanding that each person you add to your team will work with you, not for you. An ethical leader does not consider personal achievements, but group ones; He does not want to stand out, but rather seeks that the triumphs are the result of the collaborative work of all the members.

How to start being an ethical leader? The first step is to hire the right people. At this point, the recommendation is to choose candidates not because of their experience and knowledge, but because of their values and passion. Take into account that with training and practice, a person can obtain practically any skill; However, it is impossible to teach him to feel emotion for his work, much less to behave like a good human being. A professional can be created in a few months or a few years; a person takes a lifetime to form.

Now, having the right team (which you can evaluate by their attitudes and behaviors) always try to motivate them. Do you want your collaborators to be punctual? You start by arriving early at the office. Do you want them to be productive? Stay focused on your tasks. Do you want them to be honest? Admit your mistakes and promote the "culture of mistakes." Do you want them to be creative? Get them to share their ideas. There is no better school than the example. And your role as a leader is primarily to inspire others to be better workers and ultimately better people.

Likewise, an ethical leader is one who personally attends to each of his collaborators, caring for them, and providing timely feedback. He is also someone courteous and respectful. Greet your team every day, acknowledge their successes and correct mistakes on the spot, in order to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. His most powerful words are: "good morning", "thank you" and "sorry".

Probably one of the most difficult aspects for an ethical leader is when to fire employees. Nobody likes to give this kind of news, and even less if there is an emotional bond with the person. However, it is something that every manager has to do at some point in his career. To do it in the best possible way: 1) Be honest: Don't try to smooth things over; the employee will appreciate if you tell them how they are and 2) always stay on good terms. Resentments are useless.

It is key that to fire someone you consider their attitude. If you have someone on your team who is brilliant and does his job in an outstanding way, but who has aggressive behaviors and insults his colleagues, it is best to let him go. Keeping someone toxic in your workforce can cause irreparable damage to your company.

Keeping someone toxic in your workforce can cause irreparable damage to your company / Image: Depositphotos.com

An ethical leader is fair and rewards his followers correctly. He does not have favorites, nor is he carried away by physical aspects such as money and flattery. In addition, he is someone who is concerned about the development of his team, so he gives them opportunities to improve their health, cultivate affective relationships (complying with established schedules and favoring fun in the office) and increase their knowledge and skills, by through training and classes.

If your company is growing and you need to appoint people to managerial positions, make sure they are good people first. This will ensure not only that your team works with motivation and that staff turnover decreases, but also that you deliver excellent customer service. Remember that every company is a reflection of its people and that, therefore, to have a great company you need to have great people.