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INTRODUCTION Ethics and Values Ethics and values cover the standards of right and wrong and the personal qualities that support the ability to judge and act upon ethical standards. Ethical standards guide decisions and focus behavior for right or wrong action. They anchor our sense of personal and professional integrity. They also provide fundamental threads to weave together the narrative of personal identity and integrity that we use to define whom we are as persons. Ethics and values are also embedded in qualities of character. These character virtues such as courage, prudence and fidelity provide the emotional and cognitive dispositions and psychological foundation to focus attention, motivate and sustain good judgment and actions. The design of an organization, its incentive structures and above all its informal and formal patterns of culture are prime determinants of whether a government or nonprofit organization will sustain high performance informed by public service values. The focus upon public values and character provides a lens through which leaders can focus their personal and institutional attention to nurture value informed actions. This teaching resource develops a framework and language of ethical values and character that can help leaders and managers appreciate and articulate the importance of values and character in leading effectively and building strong organizational cultures. It provides a primer in: the nature of public service values and commitments; their role in building strong public and nonprofit organizations; the range of values needed; and the strategies, tactics and skills needed by leaders and managers to generate these values and behaviors. It also provides an analysis of the range of unethical and illegal behaviors and norms that can undermine a public value driven organizations. The essay identifies leverage points that leaders can focus attention on to avert these dangers and build a positive value driven organization. This approach has been used in many executive programs, mand critiques of students, executives and colleagues. The essay can be used to provide an ethics supplement to management or leadership classes or be deployed as a section of an administrative, management, leadership or policy ethics class.
Role and Professional Ethics
Our values, commitments and character enable us to make judgments and act upon them. Values permit leaders and managers to visualize the direction they seek to pursue in their actions. Values provide the framework to evaluate situations, people and environments. They focus actions that impact the mission and goals of an organization. Values are also a source of reflection and innovation as leaders imaginatively extend the reach of the values and authorizing standards. Ethics at the middle and senior organizational level focuses on the standards and character required of individuals who hold positions of power and responsibility. Ethical duties arise when individuals take positions of authority within the web of accountability and command. Taking these positions means we make an explicit or implicit promise to judge and act upon the standards imposed by law, the professional standards for our position, and our duties. We also agree to be accountable for those judgments and actions. Holding a position of authority enmeshes a person in a web of obligations and dependencies. Colleagues, superiors, peers, collaborators, vulnerable citizens and others rely upon our consistent, competent, and fair judgment and actions. If individuals in senior or middle roles fail, vulnerable personnel or citizens can suffer serious consequences. The legitimacy of the whole enterprise can be undermined by failure of leading at this level. Allies, partners and collaborators who rely upon us keeping our promises and delivering service and support can suffer grievous loss. Long term and valuable relations of trust and support can be undermined. The responsibility to act with professional and personal ethics is even more important in an area where individuals possess special powers to use force in the performance of their duties or have great power over vulnerable clients like teachers, public health officials or police officers.
Organizational Ethics and Values
While ethics and values often are identified as personal concerns, successful organizations create and sustain their own ethical standards of performance. The ethical culture that informs cumulative actions of many individuals gives reality to the vision and mission in the daily decisions of individuals. Leaders and managers need to act in sustained manners over long periods of time to inculcate a strong culture of value driven decision-making that survives the daily press of life. This defines value driven leading. The values reside in the norms of the culture and the widespread and accountable professional judgment of personnel. While senior leaders set the tone and vision, middle managers and supervisory personnel carry the norms of the organization and are the front-line of ethical performance and culture. asters’ degree courses and executive masters programs. It has been refined over the years in light of the comments

Value Driven Leadership.pdf


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