In the day-to-day operations of a business, all leaders are faced with ethical issues. Ethical issues range from determining which employees deserve promotions to more complex issues, such as serving a client with a potentially unethical request. Regardless of their complexity, all ethical issues that arise in the workplace should be carefully examined, and handled with care, as the determinations of these ethical issues can lead to the growth or demise of a company.

Critical Thinking and Emotion
While some dismiss emotion when processing moral dilemmas, emotion is intrinsic to the ethical decision process. According to theorists Gaudine and Thorne, "Emotion is often a non-essential aspect to the ethical decision process that is best ignored, if not controlled, as it interferes with logical, rational ethical decision process...but emotions should not be ignored as irrational biases to a rational ethical decision process, but attention to ones emotions may result in a better ethical decision." While the consideration of emotions is not the only necessary aspect of the critical thinking process when working through ethical problems in the workplace, including emotions in this process actually strengthens the cognitive analysis of ethical dilemmas.

Ethics, Credibility and Relationships
Ethically sound leadership is directly correlated to increased credibility and stronger relationships within organizations, as strong ethics result in increased credibility, which then builds lasting relationships with team members. Treating employees and situations in an ethical manner will help leaders gain credibility and build stronger relationships. Many theorists believe that "late stage" managers are actually more ethical than their less developed counterparts, and these late stage managers and entrepreneurs develop their own ethical systems based on the varying interactions and environmental changes, rather than holding steadfast to a particular way or formula for coping with workplace dilemmas. As managers move through developmental stages and become more ethical, the community is strengthened, which can also be interpreted as the key component of unity within strong organizations.

As credibility is increased, the building of strong relationships naturally follows. Organizational leaders who are perceived to have a high level of credibility are admired and respected by their constituents. This increased credibility of leaders also makes the admiring constituents feel more worthy, and feel as though they are valued. This sense of being valued leads to increased loyalty and a strong relationship between leaders and their constituents. Therefore we can see how sound ethics leads to increased credibility, which leads to relationship building. Rather than acting as tyrant, ethical leaders create a collaborative environment and a feeling of being a part of a team for all members of the organization, regardless of rank or position. It is a continuous cycle. If one aspect is missing-ethical behavior, credibility or relationship-it will be very difficult for the other aspect to exist.

Author's Bio: 

J. Mariah Brown is the owner and editor-in-chief of Writings by Design, LLC. To learn more about how Writings by Design can help your business flourish, please visit us at, or email your question to