1. Moral leaders have a fundamental understanding of ethical theory as a basis for any ethics initiative or leadership development.
2. A moral leader should not be primarily concerned with what people should believe, but why they believe what they do.
These ,then, become the springboard for further examination. Therefore to help understand ethics in a more practical approach, one needs to have some semblance of a definitive understanding of ethical theory. So here is a simple, yet useful explanation to get started.
A. Ethics, philosophically, is divided into two branches:
1. Normative ethics = How one decides what kinds of actions are right and wrong.
Normative ethics is divided into two types:
A. Teleological = Moral judgments are based entirely on the effects produced by an action. An action is considered right or wrong in relation to its consequences.
B. Deontological = the rightness of an action does not depend solely on it consequences since there may be certain features of the act itself which determine whether it is right or wrong.
The concept to remember here is that teleological looks ahead to the consequences.
2. Meta-ethics = deals with the philosophical analysis of the meaning of the terms ”good” “bad”, and “right” from “wrong.”
The deontological looks back on the nature, i.e. cause, reason, of the act itself.
Simply put, one focuses on the consequences of the act, the other on the reasons for the act.
The moral leader needs to consider both concepts by making this an integral part of any ethics training initiative for all. Hopefully, this will help provide you with a strategic direction for your compass.
The questions that should be addressed to help you and your organization stay on “moral track” are:
1. Doesn’t one’s behavior give you an indication as to what one believes is appropriate?
If so, how do you as a leader handle this?
2. The more ongoing one’s ethics training is, don’t the odds of something going ethically awry decrease?
3. The more in depth the ongoing training, the more your people will “buy into” the values of not only you, but the organization.
Just some very basic food for thought for consideration in your ethics training initiatives.