Friday, April 14, 2006

Ethical Leadership

Ethical Leadership. This ERIC Digest is about the concept of ethics and leadership. Of course, ethical leadership is important. However, I often find that ethics can be difficult. What do you do when every decision has a potentially unethical outcome? This includes when the failure to act itself is potentially unethical. What do you do? I am coming to believe that ethical leadership is more an art than a science.

Ten years of library management experience has reinforced to me how important ethics are. However, it has also taught me that ethics are not as clear cut and as simple as I once thought.

From the site:

"Real leaders concentrate on doing the right thing, not on doing things right." That advice from organizational consultants comes as no surprise to school leaders, whose lives are filled with difficult ethical dilemmas.

Principals experience such dilemmas on a daily basis, says William Greenfield (1991). Having moral obligations to society, to the profession, to the school board, and to students, they find that "it often is not clear what is right or wrong, or what one ought to do, or which perspective is right in moral terms."

Unfortunately, relatively few administrators have been trained to deal with these conflicts. Until very recently, ethical issues were given little attention in preparation programs (Lynn Beck and Joseph Murphy 1994).

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