compassionate leadership

All posts tagged compassionate leadership

Ethics and the Strategy of Lying

Published July 16, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair
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A top priority in today’s world is a firm’s ability to recognize and address complicated business ethics issues. This is due to the number of well-publicized incidents of corporations engaging in fraudulent and deceitful behavior.  In their book, Business Ethics (2013) Ferrell et al., revealed that once a firm loses the public’s trust after a highly visible business ethics scandal, it changes the climate and new regulations are implemented to make businesses more accountable (Ferrell, Ferrell, & Fraedrich, 2013). The fact is, we all face ethical decisions as a part of everyday life. This means that we rely on our own personal views of ethical responses as part of the decision-making process. Ethical decisions also influence our work conduct and a company’s management goals. Furthermore, ethics play a role in the development of company policies and helps with setting the parameters of what constitutes informal communications, which tend to reflect the firm’s code of ethics.
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However, when the media exposed that trusted, well-known companies like Countrywide Financial, AIG, and ENRON had engaged in fraudulent and illegal practices, the world realized that they had all done so while hiding behind images of highly ethical conglomerates. In other words, the stark reality was that these firms had incorporated organizational management strategies that supported a culture of lying and deceit and hid it well. This meant that the leaders of these firms were either: (a) unable to make good ethical decisions because they did not subscribe to a construct that many leaders do, which is that mastering ethical reasoning is a component that is just as important in the success of an organization as is mastering accounting, financial, and marketing decisions; or (b) the firm’s tunnel vision focus to achieve their outcomes was more significant than operating with ethical sensibility. Choice (b) is the most common reason why many leaders choose to engage in a strategy of lying. This is because the marketplace is highly competitive and leaders are typically under pressure from the firm’s stockholders to achieve higher profits. For example, when a company is actively promoting and saturating the market with a new brand, they can choose to report what the firm actually sold, or they can engage in a strategy of deception by reporting numbers shipped, but not sold. This is one way a company can make themselves seem more successful than they really are. However, when a firm engages in deceitful strategies, they always risk getting caught and can end up like Countrywide, AIG, and ENRON.
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Many people in leadership positions have dealt with and processed their own experiences of betrayal or being lied to. They can either choose to behave like those who hurt them, or they can become motivated to make different choices. I revealed in my eBook, Ethics in the Real World (2013), that as a result of the conditions of my upbringing and various life experiences, I, like many others, operate with a zero tolerance for lying policy in my both my business and personal life. In today’s highly competitive market place, we have seen, this is not an easy code to subscribe to. Business leaders however, can support this policy by communicating to staff members that they must be willing to work harder as a team to support and cultivate a culture that subscribes to a code of conduct based on everyone’s abilities to identify right and wrong behavior. It is the responsibility of the leaders of an organization to establish an ethical environment. They can do so by applying the golden rule model using compassion and understanding as an integral part of the decision making process. In addition, to help enforce these policies, the organization must be open to operating with transparency and oversight, clearly articulating the consequences for misconduct, poor outcomes, and the use of lying as a strategy. On Friday, we will take a closer look at when lying as a strategy can actually yield successful outcomes. Until then, stay organized!

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Information is not knowledge. – Albert Einstein

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References:

Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Ferrell, L., Ferrell, O., & Fraedrich, J. (2013). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (9th ed.). Mason: South-Western.

 

The Tipping Point Where Power Turns Into Domination

Published December 29, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Power and domination are central concepts in social science and identifying the tipping point where power turns into domination is a topic that is at the heart of many studies. The difference between power and domination is simply defined as having power to or power over something or someone else.

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In nature there are three basic types of power structure distinctive in mammals: (a) solo, (b) herd, and (c) hierarchical. Solo mammals like tigers and bears, live alone except for mating purposes. Herd mammals, like sheep and gazelles have no social structure but mingle around each other for safety in numbers to ward off predators. Hierarchical mammals, like wolves, chimps and humans, have an instinct for social organization which translates to top dogs and underdogs. For example, in an organizational environment with hierarchical power structures, people compete for higher ranks (Sommer, 2012). This can create a dog eat dog environment for individuals with self-interest motives that thirst for power. The unavoidable dynamic forces of power and domination become distorted because of individuals with hidden agendas, misguided views, and a misrepresentation of authority.

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In his book, Unlimited Power, Tony Robbins (1977) states:

Power is the ability to change your life, shape your perceptions, make things work for you and not against you. Real power is shared, not imposed. It’s the ability to define human needs and fulfill them – yours and the needs of people you care about. It’s the ability to direct your own personal kingdom – your own thought processes, your own behavior – so you produce the precise results you desire (p. 5).

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This is empowering information, however unless compassion is also embraced as an element, unlimited power without compassion encourages those with Machiavellian personalities that crave power to engage in practices that dominate others. These kind of individuals are willing to manipulate a situation or others to achieve personal gain and are more than willing to seek unauthorized and unethical means to attain power, control, fortune and fame in their domain (Baack, 2012). They engage in tactics seeking alliance with others like minded or content to act as followers, and use any means available to divide and conquer seeking to build their empires.

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When an individual is in a role of authority, they can either choose to be leader that dominates others, using whatever means they can to achieve their end goal, or they can choose to be the kind of leader that helps people discover and develop their own unique qualities of greatness. These kinds of leaders find their success in the success of others. I believe we can harness the power of the mind to have, do, achieve and create anything we want. The key in how to achieves one’s goals lies within each individual’s moral compass.

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Robbins, A. (1977). Unlimited Power. (p. 5). New York, NY: Free Press.

Sommer, L. (2012). Beyond office politics. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.