What Are Some Key Principles of Ethical and Moral Leadership?

bizfluent article image

Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

When you are a manager, it is very important to ensure that you are ethical and moral in your attitudes, your examples and your decisions. There are a number of situations in business where there is no clear right or wrong answer. In these cases, you need to take a number of ethical and moral aspects into account. It is important that this be done because if not, some of your team could take offense.


When making important business decisions, it is essential that the manager remains impartial, looking at both sides of the argument equally. This can be tricky as it is not always possible to prevent personal opinion or preference that clouds your judgment. Examples of decisions that require impartiality and objectivity include promoting team members, hiring new recruits and awarding contracts.

Concern for Others

It is important that the feelings of others and the morale of the team be taken into account when making decisions. This concern for others, however, extends beyond your own business into the general needs of society. For example, it is morally and ethically wrong for a factory to discard waste into a local river, or bury contaminated materials underground. Not only does this cause environmental damage, but also the negative effects on your business reputation can be massive.


Being fully honest and open in both communicating with your team and to the general public is an important part of making moral and ethical decisions. All reports that the business publishes and discloses must be signed off by the board of senior managers to ensure their truth and authenticity. Being honest inspires clients and partners to have faith and trust in your business.

Conflicts of Interest

There is a risk in business that people in positions of authority and power find ways to abuse that very position. For example, an employee may work for a competitor as well as for the business, or help family members get a job in his same company. This could lead to animosity within your business, which in turn leads to conflict. The main effect of conflict and lowered morale is a reduction in productivity, which results in a loss of profit.