Ethical Leaders Known in My Lifetime Research Proposal

Pages: 5 (1793 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … ethical leaders known in my lifetime. There are indeed many types of leaders, and anyone who has worked, gone to school, or interacted with people in any way has come across both ethical and unethical leaders. When I think of ethical leaders in my life, I think of my Fourth Grade teacher, Miss Frederickson, who was truly a great role model and leader in the classroom. When I think of an unethical leader, I think of the last boss I worked for, who blatantly played favorites, antagonized and alienated long-time staff, and created an abysmal, negative working environment.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Research Proposal on Ethical Leaders Known in My Lifetime. There Assignment

My Fourth Grade teacher still stands out in my mind as a great leader because she was strong, fair, kind, and extremely ethical. She never let any of the bullies get away with anything, but she was always fair with each one of her students, and supportive, as well. One leadership expert writes, "A leader is not a sole voyager, but a key figure whose actions or inactions can determine others' well-being and the broader good" (Ciulla, 2004, p. 47). This truly describes my teacher. She was quite capable of determining the classes' well-being and the broader good, and she was kind but firm, always in charge of the classroom and the playground, but never by any kind of underhanded or negative means. I think that one of the qualities that made her fair and honest was that she truly loved teaching and her students, and that showed in her actions. I rarely remember her raising her voice, and yet, the class respected her, and I think that is another element of ethical leadership - respect. When you respect your leader, you will follow them and allow them to lead, but when you do not, you will follow reluctantly at best. Of course, a teacher is essentially the "boss" in a classroom, but a teacher still has to earn the students' respect, and they do that by being fair in the classroom, honest, in charge, but still warm and caring, and my teacher certainly had all those qualities. We knew she was fair, and that she would never place one student higher than another, or favor one over the other, and so, we respected her. Many of us admired her, too, which I think is another element of good leadership. You must admire the leader, or at least their method of leadership, to follow them in good faith, and good leaders command admiration, rather than fear or dislike.

Her leadership resulted from high standards of ethics, I think, because she always tried to be fair and equitable in the classroom, and she never put one child over another. She and my mother grew to be friends, but she never favored me in the classroom, and did not allow me to mention the relationship in the classroom, because she did not want the others to think she might favor me. She was meticulous about her teaching methods, and including everyone in the class in every activity, but she was quick to react to any problems or disruptions in the class, too. She was a strong leader because she had control over the class, but did not use any kind of negative means to maintain control. A writer talks about how important it is for educations to have high ethics. She writes, "Those larger matters to which we must not become inured are those of the moral imperative to produce leaders for our schools who have both 'the paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will'" (Reilly, 2006). I think that describes my teacher perfectly. Other teachers in my life have had to resort to punishment or other means of negative behavior to control classes, and have even let their personal emotions show toward children they did not like. She would have never done that, and it made her a better teacher and leader than many I have had.

I think another element of leadership is a positive outlook; it is hard to be a cynical or negative great leader. She also had a very positive and sunny outlook. She shared stories with the class so we got to know her better, and she involved classmates in discussion and team play, and always had something good to say about everyone. She was certainly not a Pollyanna, but she was a positive role model for the students, and her outlook was always bright and cheerful. That has not always been the case in other teachers I have had, and it made it much more difficult to look forward to the day in the classroom. A good leader encourages participation and growth, and some of the teachers I have had seem not to care about those elements of teaching, they seem to be just going through the motions rather than really enjoying their leadership role. I think a good leader enjoys their position and encourages others to do the same.

In contrast to my teacher, I once worked with a supervisor who to me was the epitome of bad unethical leadership. Author Ciulla continues, "A major component of the leader-follower relationship is the leader's perception of himself or herself relative to followers, and how they in turn perceive the leader" (Ciulla, 2004, p. 48). In this case, the leader was not perceived well by many co-workers, and often behaved unethically. She had been hired directly after graduation, and had no management training, but had a friendly relationship with the department head before coming on board. She hired several student worker "interns" and blatantly favored them over staff members who had been there for years. She often treated student workers to special privileges, gave them presents, and even allowed them to take days off over the long-term staff, and all of this was never questioned by senior management. I believe that she perceived herself to be above the staff, and better than them because she had a degree, and she allowed her feelings to be quite well-known. Needless to say, the staff did not like her (the students did, of course!), and it caused dissension and alienation between the staff and management. Eventually, all the staff members left, because the working conditions were so poor.

Clearly, there were some ethical violations going on in this supervisor's leadership. I believe there were several causes for this unethical behavior. First, she had no management training, and it was her first real, full-time job. I believe giving her a leadership role was premature, and that she should have had management experience. The circumstances could not have been more different from my teacher's classroom. My supervisor's favoritism was unethical and bad for the company, too. It created friction and misunderstanding in the staff, it caused most of them to leave, and many had been in the department for many years. What was once considered one of the best departments to work for became one of the worst, and it remained that way for a long time. The ethical leadership expert notes, "Further, abuse deprives a leader of honest information and judgments from cowed subordinates. This can fuel the self-absorption and self-deception that are pitfalls of arbitrary power" (Ciulla, 2004, p. 48). I believe that this woman did intimidate her co-workers and the people she managed. Personally, I was afraid to complain about her, because she was friends with the head of the department, and she showed a totally different side to her that she did to the rest of us.

The rest of the staff felt the same way, and we were certainly intimidated by her and her actions. In one of the most unethical actions while I was there, she was gossiping by email about another employee, and accidentally forwarded the email to the employee they were talking about. She was also gossiping with a student intern that she favored, which was a terrible standard to set. Of course, the employee they were talking about sent it to everyone else, so we all knew what had happened. The employee was furious and crushed at the same time, and never received an apology, either. There is no comparison between the ethics of my teacher and the ethics of this woman, she acted unethically and never got caught. Expert Ciulla says, "Achieving teamwork demands a concern for maintaining responsibility, accountability, authenticity, and integrity in the leader-follower relationship" (Ciulla, 2004, p. 49). None of these things were present in the relationship in this work environment. Workers did not admire or respect this woman, and the relationship went both ways. She did not like us and made no attempt to hide this.

There was another aspect of her leadership that was especially disturbing. She always chose to see the "worst case scenario," rather than the best case. If something occurred in the office or someone made a mistake, she always chose to view it as something done on purpose, or by design, rather than giving a person the benefit of the doubt.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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