Monday, 21 october 2019 | Redacción CEU
Leaders are the people in charge, the ones who must make difficult decisions, carry them out, deal with crisis management, organize and prioritize tasks, supervise and evaluate the work of their subordinates and find ways to make the team work and advance without deviating from the right direction. Leading effectively is a complex activity, since, to a large extent, work performance depends on not only one, but many professionals. Leaders necessarily have to gain the trust of those who are under their command. Otherwise, they will hardly manage to complete all these goals successfully. But what leads workers to trust leaders? What requirements do they have to meet to become a figure to follow?
Leadership and ethics have not always been taken as an indivisible binomial. We just have to consider the different cases of corruption, misappropriation, fraud, deceit, negligence or labor exploitation that have made the headlines in the press throughout history. However, although these elements do not form an unbreakable unit, when they act together, they serve as a great lever to success.
First of all, workers should be certain that their leaders are following the right way to trust them. It is true that there are complex problems, difficult issues to address and controversial decisions, so the path is not always clear. Then, how do workers know that their leaders are acting correctly?
True leaders have a strong ethical sense, as they act according to some values and principles in the daily life of the companies. This means that not only do they behave in a "right" way, but they are consistent with themselves and follow the values and principles they defend. Leaders are visible figures, so their behavior serves as an example to the rest. When their principles do not fit with those of the company's culture or there is a great distance between what they say and what they do, workers do not know who to follow, nor what to do.
Integrity: When leaders are believable, they inspire motivation, win respect and generate trust. Leaders who act in an exemplary manner contribute to creating a trust bond with their workers, since workers are asked to do something that leaders are also willing to do. At the same time, leaders embody the values of the company, so they pave the way to follow without speaking. If their actions do not match their words, their messages go up in smoke. No one calls someone a leader when they do not trust them.
Transparency: Although there are many people who think in the opposite way, corporate opacity works more as an obstacle than as a useful tool. Uncertainty is not a good "co-worker", but it is always present when secrets are kept. The less information leaders share, the more they move away from those who are supposed to follow them. And if there is nothing dishonorable to hide, why not tell the truth? Changes are better accepted when they are accompanied by an honest explanation. The more information employees have about changes, the easier it will be for them to face them.
Humbleness: Leaders are authority figures, so it is important they understand what their power is based on: the collaboration and support of their followers. Leading also implies being willing to listen, respect, appreciate, recognize and encourage those who are led. Bosses who lack empathy find it very difficult to interpret the work context. If they do not know how to put themselves in the shoes of their employees, they will hardly know how to guide them.
Responsibility: A leader is the person that assumes the maximum responsibility in the team, so they must live up to this mission. Any member of a team has responsibilities associated with their job, but leaders are responsible for distributing these, acting against problems that may arise and seeking appropriate solutions. For this, it is essential that they deal with changes smoothly, with ease, that is, seeing them as an opportunity for growth and learning, not as an obstacle to work.
Generosity: A true leader is by definition fair. Leaders are not people who only seek their own benefit, but rather the ones who manage to take their whole team with them to another level. A frequent mistake is to give priority to economic results over the relationships that are established within the framework of their professional activity. In the short term, a leadership based on achieving goals without taking into account teams might achieve satisfactory results, but this scenario is not maintained over time. Soft skills such as interpersonal communication, teamwork, time management or negotiation competences are key to building relationships that translate into successful experiences.
Leadership and ethics are the pillars on which our business school stands. This is the reason why The CEU IAM Business School offers different programs aimed at strengthening the leadership abilities of its students, always within an ethical framework. Among these training courses, you can find our Executive MBA with three locations (Madrid, Boston and Accra) and a wide range of executive programs: Automotive Sector MDP, MPD Farma & Biotec, Expert Program in Management of Food Industries and MPD in Innovation and Real Estate Business Technology. Ask for further information!