This essay sets out to discuss the effects that clear moral values displayed by leaders within an organisation can have in the workplace and on an organisation. This all relates to one’s moral compass. It has been said that if a Manager’s moral compass is functioning properly, then you can assume that the particular individual can judge decisions as either right or wrong.
The metaphor of a compass is used as it has two ends. One pointing North and the other pointing in the opposite direction South. North is used to represent truth, honesty, justice, fairness or any other moral principle that is good, whereas South is the total opposite which represents leadership that is hopelessly lost.
A few questions which are often asked when looking into individual leadership and moral norms are, Are Manager’s forced to get involved in immoral behaviour due to the demanding pressures from their work environment and job? Or is it particular Manager’s choose to act or display immoral behaviour at their place of work? These questions will be discussed further by investigating a number of key factors that will affect a Manager’s performance which relate to opportunities, capacity and willingness. It is also important to look at the role the manger plays in employee motivation.
As such, in order for a leader or Manager’s to have a strong moral compass, they must first understand their personal values and the ability to understand and make ethical judgements. This can be developed and nurtured through experiences and over the course of their careers. The role and type of leader that a manager plays in an organisation and the affects this has will be discussed using Henry Mintzberg’s Ten Managerial Roles theory.
An organisation and the culture it breeds play an integral part in a managers performance which ultimately affects their mindset and ability to make sound judgements with a ethical moral conviction. It is morally wrong for an organisation to show a lack of concern for its employees. As such a great manager should always be humanistic when dealing with their employees and demonstrate concern for their development and well-being. They also understand that life sometimes intrudes on work, and a manager needs to make allowances when they can.
A great manger will cultivate influence through honest and respectful communication. This should be promoted in every organisation. Open communication is a must and a strong manager will take time to listen to other viewpoints, gather information and explain the logic behind decisions when they are made especially when they are unpopular. This goes a long way in gaining respect with employees and obtaining their backing.
A morally sound manager formulates a plan to train, teach and coach constantly. A manager with a strong moral compass should always discuss with upper executives’ opportunities for recognising emerging leaders and provide them with growth opportunities. There also needs to be a push for employees to have the right tools and framework to initiate change. A manager should assist employees advance their careers and always provide clear expectations and honest performance feedback. They take the time to tell employees what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. This goes a long way in obtaining their respect and support.
An inspirational manager will always make it a priority that the culture in the workplace is everything. They create a climate of trust. If employees can come to work with the knowledge that their manager will support them even when they make mistakes, then employees are more loyal and satisfied. Conversely employees are less likely to take initiative with solving problems if the consequences are always severe. When outcomes don’t eventuate, strong mangers take responsibility. If employees understand and believe in the organisations culture, and managers stay true to it even in the toughest of times, an immense atmosphere of loyalty is created. This creates a harmonious workplace with productive employees, which reduces employee turnover and weeds out those that do not buy into the organisations culture.
A manager with high morals needs to be realistic and in touch with their capacity to perform and undertake certain roles and functions. This is by no means a hindrance as it can be addressed through training and development program such as emotional intelligence and short courses. If left unaddressed, the ramifications can be severe for both the manager and the organisation.
An insightful manager leaves their ego at the door. If this does not happen, then an authoritarian atmosphere is created which does not allow for input, openness and opinions. Conversely to look for insights as a manager is a sign of thoughtfulness and positive self esteem which filters down to staff.
Employees listen with their eyes, not their ears. Actions speak louder than words is so true for a manager to be effective and respected in the workplace. All organisations have values and code of ethics that apply to all staff including the CEO and managers. Evidently a manger with a strong moral compass will advertise and promote the organisations values. A failure to reflect these values in their behaviour, will cause mistrust.
A vital, ethical and important personal quality for a manager to have is to take responsibility for their own actions. A manger should always be honest and deal with the consequences when a bad decision is made. If the manager looks for a fall guy or scapegoat, they then destroy their credibility, reputation, loyalty, reputation and will never be trusted to be a strong manager.
A manager with a sense of morality and true leadership skills will never allow their skills, expertise, knowledge and values to be eroded by simply giving them up when making vital decisions. This gives a perception to employees of ‘giving in’. Mangers should always believe in themselves, their organisation and the benefits of making well investigated, informed, and researched decisions.
Managers who also focus on constantly motivating employees are truly ethical in their approach to leadership. Motivated employees can lead to increased productivity and a harmonious work environment. A manger should always ensure employees feel that their work and efforts is an important contribution to the organisation.
Manager’s performance which relate to opportunities, capacity and willingness can only be successful and fruitful for an organisation based on the manager’s ability to constantly switch roles as tasks, situations and expectations change. Henry Mintzberg recognised that there are ten roles that a strong and successful manager needs to be aware of and display, however Mintzberg found that the majority of these clustered around three core management categories.
The manager’s role in relation to the interpersonal category is a very vital role. This lays the foundation when it comes to a managers moral compass especially in relation to their leadership and practising what they preach. The manager is looked upon as a person with authority and as a figurehead who is looked at as the one who manages the performance and responsibilities of everyone in the team. This category also reinforces the notion that its important for a manger to liaise with their staff as well as external personnel, and as such communicate in an honest effective manner. In Mintzberg’s study, chief executives spent 12% of their contact time on ceremonial duties; 17% of their incoming mail dealt with acknowledgments and requests related to their status.
The informational category requires the manager to process information and detail. For a manger to be effective they are required to be honest, open, and private in relation to the many kinds and the different forms of information that comes across their table. As monitors, managers are constantly receiving information from a network of sources including the most common form being verbal. This can be speculation, gossip or hearsay and manager with a good moral compass needs to discourage this type of information and the innuendo that comes with it. This can be destabilising to a team if it is encouraged and allowed to manifest. As such, it is the mangers role to be the disseminator of this information and should be ethical in their approach as to who should receive such information, how often, how much and in what form. In this category the manager is also required to take on the role of the spokesperson. In this role the manager is required to act responsibly when outlaying information to both internal and external stakeholders. Honest communication to external staff holders especially during consultation has positive connotations in relation to public image, goals and even branding.
The final category is the decisional category. The two managerial categories discussed above- interpersonal and informational- will assist a manger in making difficult decisions in which at times outcomes are unclear and interests are conflicting. This category calls upon the manager to be entrepreneurial. A strong moral managerial leadership will allow for improved change and managers should constantly seek this. This will allow them to be honest with themselves and seek the change or reinvention that may be required. This is motivating to staff, as it allows managers to look at the way things are done and moving forward how they should be done, streamlining strategies and procedures. The disturbance role in this category calls for managers to have a great conscience and not let situations deteriorate or spin out of control, however in the event that this may happen, a sound manager must react accordingly using good, ethical, educated and informed judgement. The third decisional role of resource allocator requires managers to make sound and sensible decisions in relation to funding, equipment, milestones etc while still leading, motivating and developing staff. The final decisional role is that of negotiator. A successful and honest manager will dedicate time negotiating budget allocations, milestones, contracts, project allocations, brainstorming and execution of those ideas. The most important negotiations are between, employees, customers, suppliers and other internal stakeholders including managers.
In conclusion, this essay has shown that the workplace comes with many challenges and problems which a manager must face and deal with. A lot of these complications are around situations encompassing problems which require a decision to be made. However, whatever the decision made, any unethical decisions made by managers with a poor moral compass has been as a result of their choice and not because of the work environment. A manager with a strong and ethical moral compass will always try and find and ethical solution to their problems, and ultimately, they are responsible for their actions and choices and should be ready to face the consequences attached to the decision. A manager with a strong moral compass will command respect and influence which will assist with furthering and prolonging their careers.