Running Head: LEADERSHIP AND INTEGRITY Leadership and Integrity [Name] [University] Leadership and Integrity Introduction Leadership A typical definition of leadership is that it is a process that achieves organizational goals by exerting influence (i.e., through direction, motivation, and inspiration) over others (Jones, 2000)…
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For leadership to occur there needs to be some leader-follower relationship without followers, there is no leader (Hay & Hodgkinson, 2006). Though a leader might be chosen as part of a formal system, a person can be a leader without official authorization. The actual leader of a group might not be the "assigned" manager, and in reality, the roles of leader and follower may be ever-changing, as needs and circumstances change (Burns, 1978, 2003). Leaders are a means toward change (Bass, 1981). Burns (1978, 2003) points-out that the primary, driving force for leadership is change, and leaders/followers have a dynamic interdependency. They succeed or fail, based on how well they work through change. According to Bolman and Terrence (2003), although leaders may share some common qualities (i.e., vision), a major factor in making leaders is the situation or environment in which they lead and/or develop. Kouzes and Posner (1995) state that job assignments, relationships/contacts with other people, as well as formal training and education can help develop leadership. Integrity and Moral Leadership Merriam- Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines integrity as "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; an unimpaired condition; the quality or state of being complete or undivided." But integrity is more complicated than these simple definitions. Persons of integrity must be independent enough to choose freely the values by which they will guide their lives. They must have an awareness and understanding of both their strengths and weaknesses and the capacity to evaluate themselves in a realistic fashion without self-deception (Spencer, 1996). Integrity may be seen as related to the desires with which we identify in order to act effectively in our lives. This identification signifies our capability to focus on reasons for carrying out certain actions other than our simple desire to do so. We therefore possess values relevant to our behavior and not just desires. We can be said to value something provided the identifications are sufficiently consistent and derived through practical reasoning and a sense of responsibility to act according to them. Integrity is displayed through self awareness and self-control in acknowledging these values (Taylor, 1985). According to Ciulla (1995), in defining "good" leaders, consideration must be given of their ethics, as well as their effectiveness. It is a leader's character that really matters (Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999). Leadership quality can't be considered without evaluating character, and core values are more critical than anything else (e.g., expertise, techniques, knowledge) (Sankar 2003). "Moral literacy is as important as computer literacy to a leader's effectiveness" (Sankar, 2003, p. 52). Ethical leadership in an organization can be heavily influenced by its senior leadership. Hood (2003) found that, in order to understand an organization's ethical practices, it is significant to understand the moral orientation of its CEO. Even the most ethical supervisors will have difficulty if their own upper management is unethical. For there to be an ethical organization, along with top management support, there needs to be a corporate-wide ethics policy, and, most importantly, there is a need for individual leaders who practice ethical behavior (i.e., integrity, honesty, trustworthiness) (Carlson & Perrewe, 1995).
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