Today we conclude our discussion on ethical competence as an important leadership skill, and take a closer look at how personality disorders can affect the choices leaders make and their outcomes.
As confident self-assured individuals, most charismatic leaders display an inclination towards narcissistic behavior. However, there are healthy and unhealthy levels of narcissism. In his book, Organizational Behavior Donald Baack (2012) explains that an individual with a persona that reveals a Narcissistic Personalty Disorder (NPD), will demonstrate severe limitations in comprehending the feelings or the needs of other people (Baack, 2012). In other words, they do not engage in rules of reciprocity and appear to have no concern over the consequences of their actions due to a tunnel vision focus strategy they use as a means to achieve their goals.
Professionals in the entertainment industry, are accustomed to conducting business with people that have huge egos. In my publication, Ethics in the Real World (2013) I revealed my own experience with corporate leaders and celebrities that displayed narcissistic tendencies. Some developed more severe signs of the NPD behavior, especially as they aged. The truth is, people are unable to change their behavior unless they can acknowledge the need to do so. Furthermore, they strategically surround themselves with enablers that allow the misconduct.
Most people have an inclination to revere celebrities. However, because of the exposure of bad behavior from social media outlets, the public has made it clear they are no longer willing to forgive individuals that do not respect or honor others, regardless of their status. The good news is that once we have identified this disorder, we can consciously make choices to make others aware of it and, when we are able, expose the behavior to affect positive change. In addition, we can avoid becoming involved with these kinds of people or the brands they represent.
How Emotional Intelligence Shapes Ethical Perceptions
The ability to distinguish and administer information from perceptions, stimuli, and emotional cues defines a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ). The EQ of a person plays a key role in the development of an individual’s ethical perceptions in both personal and business relationships. A person’s cognitive ability, or beliefs and perceptions about any given situation, for instance, can influence the way they judge, react, and respond to their environment. It also plays an important role in discerning how satisfied they are with their lives and career choices based on their values and what they comprehend as acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
An individual’s attitude and values, for example, reflects their predispositions toward other people, objects, concepts and events. Baack (2012) also reveals five key components that divulges a person’s emotional intelligence: (a) self-awareness, (b) self-management, (c) self-motivation, (d) empathy, and (e) social skills (Baack, 2012). He further suggests that the ability to manage personal emotions and impulses is the defining component of self-management. This element helps a person solve issues without relying on emotions to govern the thinking and decision-making processes. Individuals without suitable self-management skills, for instance, typically experience more challenges interacting in social situations. In other words, people who lack self-awareness are usually unable to pick up on the feelings and emotions of others. This inability to relate to others can make it difficult to get along with them. All of these are components help shape an individual’s perceptions of what constitutes ethical behavior.
Self-motivation is also an important factor in defining emotional intelligence. It reveals strength of character in a person’s ability to persist even after they fail. In fact, I have found that it is a key element that can help determine success or failure. For instance, there are many times when each of us experience self-motivation issues for various reasons, especially without the influence of a team, supervisor, or mentor to assist in the motivation process. Self-sufficient individuals, therefore, rely heavily on discipline techniques like time management and goal-setting strategies to keep themselves on track. To help me during those times, I incorporate activities that are inspiring and uplifting. This strategy helps energize new levels of enthusiasm and keeps me focused. They also serve to help to strengthen an individual’s: (a) self-concept, (b) self-esteem, (c) self-efficacy, (d) self-monitoring, and (e) emotional intelligence. People with lesser degrees of discipline and self-management practices, however, tend to experience reduced life coping skills, and may even have difficulty functioning effectively in social settings.
In conclusion, as America gets ready to make important choices as to who is best suited to run this country effectively with ethical competence, whether they are well liked or not, many will and should base their decision on the individual’s ability to garner high levels of trust and respect, in spite of the fact that not all policies and regulations enforced will be popular. If that leader is not acknowledged or venerated on some level, it will be difficult for that administration to achieve their objective goals or yield high levels of success, let alone maintain a competitive edge in the global arena and still manage ethical issues.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week! Until next time … keep enhancing your leadership skills!
“At its best, leadership development is not an “event.” It’s a capacity-building endeavor. It’s a process of human growth and development.”
– Linda Fisher Thornton, 7 Lenses Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership
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Mayr’s Author’s Page
Baack, D. (2012). Organizational Behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.