Leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” How boring is that? Although a definition, it does not take into consideration the human impact of leadership and the consequences of that leadership. If the outcome is destructive in nature, is that effective leadership?

Here's a slightly better definition of leadership: “The ability to lead a group of individuals to the successful accomplishment of a common purpose.”However, even that definition does not take into consideration how the accomplishment was achieved.

After all, the outcome of any leadership endeavor should include a component where the results were attained ethically and the outcome was beneficial to those being led, as well as the common purpose.

What does it mean to be ethical? Ethical is defined as “of or relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with,” and morality is defined as “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong, or good and bad behavior.”

It is a leader’s responsibility to clarify to those being led the difference between right and wrong and its relevancy to the successful achievement of the common purpose. Granted, defining right and wrong can be left to much interpretation based on the leader’s ideology and even religion, but in a general sense we can define moral behavior as treating our fellow man and woman with dignity and respect.

Most people agree that now more than ever we need ethical leadership in our government, communities, businesses, schools, and homes.

Results of Leadership

There are several common characteristics that are inherent in the results of effective leadership. They are:

1. A solidification of trust is generated within the entity being led, producing positive and constructive levels of communication.

2. An increase in loyalty to the leader, and dedication to the mission, vision, and the core values that embody the entity we are leading.

3. An increase in motivation among followers to execute the process in achieving the objective.

4. The establishment of consistent professional conduct, resulting in mutual respect and dedication among those being led.

We all set an example to others on a daily basis, and the effectiveness of that example is a direct result of the approach stated above. To lead is an honored opportunity to have bestowed upon any individual, but with it comes the responsibility of leadership and the aftermath of the leader’s efforts.

During the process of leading those we are responsible for, it takes considerable personal strength to take accountability for the mistakes made and tremendous humility when success is achieved.

No matter what your profession or rank in your organization, be a leader of principle, strength, and competence, but most important, be a leader of honesty and moral fortitude. There is no excuse.

Author's Bio: 

Jay Rifenbary is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant who provides expertise in the areas of personal and professional development, leadership, and communications. He is president of Rifenbary Training & Development and the author of two books, "True To Your Core - Common Sense Values for Living Life to Its Fullest" and “No Excuse! – Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career." Visit http://www.rifenbary.com for more information.