Is there a “Moral Code” of Technology? Is it imbedded within the bit-code of computers? Or, is it an extrinsic code applied by users of technology?
In schools throughout the country a push is being put forth to teach computer Code to students to inspire their interest in computer technology and encourage future careers. Code is the brain of computers and the light-speed processing enabling users to advance their business, their personal professional growth, and their communication with others around the world.
The impact of social media on our lives has enabled severe immoral behaviors among younger people that, I believe, dictates a moral code of technology, which will improve civility at all levels of society.
Dr. Kent M. Keith’s Universal Moral Code* applies to the use of technology as well as to behaviors in our everyday lives. My good friend and Freemason Bill R. Wood’s personal theme was “Do Good Unto All.” Civility Projects all across the nation are encouraging the return of civility into our daily dialogues. Additionally, there is a movement among colleges, such as The Relay Graduate School of Education (Relay/GSE), to re-introduce character education in schools.
Moreover, in his book Moral Leadership: Getting To The Heart of School Improvement, Thomas J. Sergiovanni speaks about how doing good in schools makes one feel good about their accomplishments. Lastly, writing on Ethics Away From Home in the Harvard Business Review on Corporate Ethics, Thomas Donaldson says companies must be guided by an “……absolute moral threshold for all business activities.”
Most certainly, a moral code for technology use is applicable to the daily use of technology in all aspects of society.
Such a Moral Code would include some of the following behavioral areas of conduct:
- Training on proper and positive Social and Emotional Intelligences that promote relationship building and teambuilding practices;
- Character skills to improve educational endurance – Grit, Optimism, Self-Control, Resilience, etc. – to improve educational and business success;
- Morality that removes cyberbullying, gossip, lying and disrespect of others and promotes inclusion of all groups for the greater good of everyone.
- Skills that include proper and effective listening and attentiveness in group communications, classrooms, meetings, and business activities;
- Moral aspects of taking personal responsibility for own success while exhibiting proper respect that honors all peoples, regardless of ethnicity;
- Morality of proper language in a public forum that respects the right of others; and
- Immoral and amoral killing of others for entertainment, such as depicted in computer games, big-screen movies and television shows.
Teaching the “Do Good Unto All” philosophy would greatly improve doing good at all times. Dr. Keith puts it this way:
Do to others what you would like them to do to you.
Be honest and fair.
Be faithful to your family and friends.
Take care of your children when they are young.
Take care of your parents when they are old.
Take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
Be kind to strangers.
Respect all life.
Protect the natural environment upon which all life depends.
In The Daily Drucker, Peter Drucker points out there is only one code of ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code, that of individual behaviors in which the same rule applies to everyone alike. He further points out that the first responsibility of a professional was dictated over 2500 years ago in the Hippocratic oath of Greek physicians: Primum non nocere, “above all, not knowingly to do harm.” This same concept is stipulated by Dr. Keith in his Universal Moral Code.
Living and behaving as per the “Golden Rule” – first above – would engrain this age-old standard of conduct – people would exhibit the above behaviors simply because that is the way they would want to be treated also. I believe it would totally remove the “I” mentality because actions would be about others, which would, in turn, greatly benefit “Self.”
Likewise, Self would feel good about their accomplishments, thereby continuing the behaviors.
Bill R. Wood lived his theme and was one of the happiest men I ever met.
How happy are you? Do you do good unto all? Is it part of your leadership and behavior that makes a difference in society?
* © Copyright Kent M. Keith 2003
Are you fully satisfied with the growing uncivil culture magnified through movies, TV programs and society in general?
How does it affect your leadership, more specifically your serving the needs of society, which your behaviors broadcasts to those with whom you interact each and every day.
I am proposing that everyone resolve to be more civil not only in their leadership, but also in their everyday lives and personal interactions with everyone – 24/7, 365 days a year.
For years human nature dictated behavior in treating others with respect, with ethical correctness, and with interactions grounded in the Golden Rule – “Doing unto others as you would like others to do unto you.” Our esteemed President George Washington, at age sixteen, created 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, which he based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.
The entertainment media seems to be on a quest to erode that standard with publicly abusive foul language, public sexual conduct that belongs in private, and disrespectful behaviors toward others as if nature gave them the right to do so. All purportedly a God-given right under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as if it is the natural behavior to exhibit.
For this reason Civility Projects are springing up nationwide attempting to return civility to society – personally and professionally. Hence, the very nature of Servant Leadership is the most logical leadership philosophy to be followed, again personally and professionally.
Speak Your Peace, Rutgers University, Alverno College, and the Oshkosh Civility Project are a few examples of entities who have initiated actions to return civility to society. In addition, P. M. Forni’s book “Choosing Civility” expounds on 25 way to improve civility in human interactions.
Speak your Peace Civility Project suggests 9 Rules of Civility as core behaviors in dealing with others in a civil manner. Below are a few examples for leaders to follow to promote civility and improve their leadership relationship with others.
1. Pay Attention/Listen. Listen intently when others are speaking. Inhibit the “inner voice” from interrupting with comments such as “The problem is…….”, or “We’ve always done it this way” in an attempt to stop the flow of ideas and suggestions. Listen for the “intent” and “will” of what is being said. Look for non-verbal communications and maintain eye-to-eye contact with the person with whom you are speaking. Lastly, listen to understand.
2. Be Inclusive. Civility knows no ethnicity, no level of leadership, no forum, no religion, no sexual preference, no generation, and no bounds. Being inclusive includes everyone. It is about leading and serving for the betterment of mankind.
3. No Gossiping. Gossiping is one of the most hurtful behaviors and accomplishes nothing. Most times it is negative and idle words, that is divisive and destructive. In some cases, it is also racist. All of which, quite possible, only lowers esteem.
4. Be Respectful. First of all, remember, respect has nothing to do with liking or disliking someone. Everyone deserves a certain level of respect; we all expect to be respected for who we are and what we have accomplished. A point I always make with my students is that, contrary to the common comment of “respect is earned,” how much more or less respect one garners depends on individual behavior, respect toward others, and the common decency, i.e. civility, extended toward others. Civility is “Respectful Behavior”, Respect is “Honorable Behavior.”
5. Build Relationships. Servant Leadership is about building relationships. Therefore, being civil is especially helpful in this process. There is no room for boasting and prideful attitudes, humility is the adhesive that solidifies teamwork and seeks to repair damaged relationships. Seek to apologize, forgive and affirm success of others.
6. Use Constructive Language. Be mindful of the words you use, when you use them, and also of the words you speak through your non-verbal communications. Foul language in the middle of the ocean, out of sight and sounds of others, may serve a purpose. However, foul language in a public forum is disrespectful toward others. More specifically, foul language often times indicates an inability to properly use correct language, as well as a limited repository of words and their usage.
7. Take Responsibility. Don’t shift responsibility or place blame on other people. Hold yourself accountable, accept your own faults, speak positively, clean up your language and respect everyone. Be The Example!
Not only is it time to restore civility in all aspects of our lives, it is essential in your servant leadership principles and practices.
Are you doing your part? Are you always civil in the example you set for others?
I hereby resolve for 2015 and the coming years that I will “Be the Example!” in treating everyone with Civility in all my personal and leadership behaviors. How about YOU?
Keep the Quest Alive!
Early on in my Navy career it was drummed into my head that the Navy’s Number 1 leadership tenant was to “Take Care of your People.” However, no one ever told us how to go about this leadership principle or practice. Nor was it really intently explained what was involved in this process.
What does it mean to you? How do you take care of your people?
People are different is many ways, how can one possibly take care of all of them equally as you lead them through their life’s purpose, vision and goals?
In his article in Ethics for the Junior Officers, Navy Chaplain Captain Arnold E. Resnicoff says that we can use the Golden Rule as a guideline. He cites a Navy Bureau of Medicine concept called “T.E.A.M.” – “Treat Everyone As Me.” Following the Golden Rule – Treat everyone as you would want to be treated – he teaches that when followed, it can help develop an ethical framework for dealing with people we lead.
Conversely, Karen Armstrong, in her TED Talk “Let’s revive the Golden Rule” believes it is the only way to save the world. She points out that all the world’s religions have their own version of the Golden Rule. The accompanying graphic depicts her point.
Captain Resnicoff further points out its importance with two other illustrations:
1. Muslin teacher and mystic Al-Ghazali had this in mind when he taught that we refrain from lying by imagining how we feel when someone else lies to us; and
2. When Confucius was asked what principle could guide all conduct, he answered “reciprocity.” In other words, that we should not do unto others what we would not want them to do to us.
Leadership and the practice of the Golden Rule
In order to adequately take care of your people, one must determine what are their needs to make them better leaders in their own right, while improving their performance and contribution to the organization in which you both collaborate each day.
So what are those needs? Think about your own situation as a new employee in a new organization. What are some your personal needs for your personal and professional growth; needs that make you a better employee, person and make a difference – significant impact – in your current experience?
Based on my own personal career experiences, and on my leadership experience and education, here are a few that come to mind.
Vision – Mission – Goals. Nearly every leadership pundit I have read will tell you of the importance of creating organizational vision, mission and goals. Dr. Timothy Bednarz, in his book Great: What Makes Leaders Great, speaks to it first in the specific findings of his research, as well as in creating an impact. Gordon D’Angelo’s, in his book VISION: Your Pathway to Victory, outlines in detail the steps to creating personal and organizational vision, mission and SMART Goals for success.
Organizational Standards and Values. The Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word, identifies the steps to follow by any learning organization: Standards; Instruction; Practice; Feedback; and Release. Without standards in which to measure behavioral and performance, the remaining four steps are hard to follow. Again referring to Dr. Bednarz, his second finding and aspect of making an impact, personal and organizational values in integrity, personal convictions to do the right thing, and work ethics.
Building Personal Relationships. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how you care. You demonstrate that “caring and compassion” through the work and personal relationships you build with those with whom you work. Take a personal interest in them, their families, their knowledge, their passion for success, and their value system. Encourage them to align their personal values and goals with those of the organization. This doesn’t mean you give them special privileges and overlook behavioral anomalies. You hold them to the expected standards and mentor accordingly.
Professional Growth. Training! Training! Training! Teach them all you know about their job in order to replicate yourself. Develop their leadership so that they can develop other leaders. Empower them to make conscious decisions for the good of the organization and their own growth.
Understanding the Law of Service. Hermann Hesse, in his book Journey to the East, tells the story of Leo, who lives by the Law of Service, which states “He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long.” Leaders must be committed to the growth of their people, putting them first in their leadership.
Robert Greenleaf, the founder of Servant Leadership, says leaders must believe in the intrinsic value of people and that he/she must recognize their responsibility to serving the personal, professional and spiritual growth of everyone. Mike Frank, motivational speaker of Speakers Unlimited speaks of it in terms of Leadership Pride: Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence. There are many “E” words that can be used in the place of excellence, all under the heading of “serving” others.
As a Person of Character, you are ethical and principle-centered in your leadership; honest, trustworthy, and humble. You lead by consciousness of the welfare of others, not by ego because of your position. You are maintain your integrity and serve a higher purpose.
As a Person who Leads with Moral Authority, you are worthy of respect, inspiring trust and confidence, while you establish quality standards of performance. You do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do. You empower others, mentoring them to perform to standards and counseling them when veering right or left of those standards.
As a Person who Puts People First – Before Self, you are concerned about your people performing to their highest capabilities. You display a servant’s heart; you are mentor-minded; and you show a care and concern for the growth of your people.
The Golden Rule of Leadership says “Lead others the way you would want others to lead you.” The concepts above certainly outline esteemed methods of leading others, creating highly esteemed leadership who put others first for everyone’s productive personal and professional growth.
Do you use any of these principles and practice each of the daily in your leadership of others? Are you “Taking Care of your People” with a holistic passion toward improving them and making a difference in their lives? The references provided above provide other practices to help you take care of your people, making them better employees, and better future leaders.
Only you can answer these probing questions.
I am interested in and thank you in advance for your feedback.
Ethical practices in the organization is a responsibility of every employee, which contributes to company values, vision, and perception by everyone on the outside looking in.
Peter Drucker writes that there is only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code, that of individual behavior in which the same rules apply to everyone alike. This means that the same rules applies to CEO’s and upper level leadership that hold all levels and employees in the organization, and therefore, every organizational member is responsible for practicing ethics.
So what is Ethics? And, what is the foundation of organizational ethics?
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics says ethics is two things. One, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefi
ts to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Two, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards, which requires the constant examination of those standards to insure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Therefore, ethics is the studying of our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we live according to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.
Steven Covey, writing in the Forward of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, says that it emanates from the natural law that is self-evident and universal. He goes on to say that in all the countries he had visited, there existed a common moral imperative, a knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and acting morally and ethically.
Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Practical Reason, affirms the existence of a moral law within that makes everyone a “good person” or one who does right things, because it is the right thing to do. He stated: “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
Apostle Paul, writing in his first letter of mentorship to his follower Timothy, describes to him the importance of ethical behavior and the problems associated with the individual perception and love of money. He says, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and description. For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Earlier in the book of Mark, Jesus describes that it is not what goes into a man that is the cause of evil behaviors, but that which comes from within, out of man’s heart that causes evil actions – specifically: evil thoughts; sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance and folly.
In his latest book entitled “The Moral Basis for Liberty”, Dr. Robert Sirico talks extensively about the foundational ideal and concept of a moral order that extends from the natural law, that is was an important ideal rooted in Greek and Roman thought, and that is was the central foundational philosophy of our Founding Fathers.
What is the cause of this moral and ethical decline of Business in America?
Kenneth Andrews’ Ethics in Practice, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review on Corporate Ethics, says it can be attributed to the lack of moral development at home, at school, at church, and at work. He writes, “Moral philosophy, which is the proper academic home for ethical instruction, is even more remote, with few professors choosing to teach applied ethics.” Combine the decline of moral and ethical instruction with the steady increase in amoral and unethical practices in today’s media, film and television programming, it is easy to recognize the declining standard of morality and ethics in general.
As a business entity, it becomes imperative that standards and instruction must contain principles and practices on morals and ethics to prevent an ethical breakdown that could even lead to the total failure of a company. The following are steps that can prevent this process from becoming a reality.
Five steps to prevent an ethical breakdown in the organization?
There are five steps organizations can take to help prevent ethical issues and concerns that may arise as a result of behavioral violations of ethical policies and standards.
1. Inspire leadership “Self-Awareness” of organizational ethical standards.
Constant awareness of one’s ethical standards and behaviors are crucial to prevent becoming sidetracked to a more inviting, but unethical practice. One’s personal character must continually reflect his/her moral foundation.
2. Model ethical principles and practices.
Walk-the-Talk. Everything a leader says and does is being constantly viewed and evaluated. The character you exhibit when no one is looking must be a total reflection of the character you model when everyone is looking.
3. Create Ethical Standards of Performance (ESOP).
Ethical standards cannot be assumed, nor can ethical practices. Specific and clear standards must become part of the organizational structure. Emphasis must be outlined that ethical practices apply up and down the organizational hierarchy. Training must contain ethical practices, dilemmas, consequences, and decision making practices for full and complete understanding.
4. Build relationships that instill Ethics into Team-building practices.
Discuss morals and ethics with employees during relationship-building encounters. Ask questions about ethical concerns and observations among employees. Build trust to prevent fearfulness of blame for identifying unethical behaviors. Mentor openly and sincerely to improve the ethical awareness of individuals.
5. Publication and periodic review of ethical standards.
Include articles on corporate values and ethical standards in your Newsletters. Educate, model, and reward applicable to measures associated with unethical practices. Review regularly and update as necessary as required to maintain the ESOP.
Leading ethically builds one’s Moral Authority making him/her worthy of respect, inspiring trust and confidence and enabling leaders to lead with high standards of performance. Leaders with accepted moral authority are able with a clear conscience to enforce and maintain organizational standards of performance. Furthermore, leaders are able to mentor poor performer from the heart to improve not only their performance, but also their behaviors.
To be effective, organizational values, morals and ethical practices must be widely promulgated to all employees, with emphasis on equality of standards and consequences for unethical practices that affect organizational vision and perception in the business community.
Thank you for your comments.
Are you a Servant? Do you “Put Others First?”
Robert Greenleaf, and several other writers since, wrote about the ideals of being a “servant to others” in one’s leadership practices. He maintained that the origin of the common practice today of Servant Leadership is Hermann Hesse’s “Journey to the East” in which he describes the “Law of Service.”
The Law of Service states: “He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule will not live long.” (Hesse wrote his book in 1932 before women were in many leadership positions. I believe today he would state it differently.)
Larry C. Spears, in his Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century, talks about a new moral principle in that “…..the only authority deserving one’s allegiance…….is clearly evident in the “servant” stature of the leader who are proven and trusted as servants.”
In the Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word, the servant Peter writing in 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that we should “use our gifts to serve others.” In other words, the greatest leaders are servant leaders. Jesus, throughout his time on earth, continually stressed that “I came to serve, not be served.” He demonstrated this concept by once washing the feet of his Disciples at one point.
President George Washington signed his personal correspondence with the phrase, “Your humble servant.” Greenleaf points out how this demonstrates the need for Trustees as Servants.
Are you a Servant First?
Professors John E. Barbuto, Jr. and Daniel W. Wheeler of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln Extension in their article Becoming a Servant Leader: Do You Have What It Takes?, very poignantly ask the question.
Some questions they ask include the following:
Do people believe that you are willing to sacrifice your own self-interest for the good of the group?
Do people believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them?
Do people come to you when the chips are down or when something traumatic has happened in their lives?
Do others follow your requests because they want to as opposed to because they “have to?”
Do others believe that you are committed helping them develop and grow?
Do others believe you are preparing the organization to make a positive difference in the world?
Mark Miller in his book “The Heart of Leadership” asks the following about self-assessment question – Think Others First.
Do you consider the needs and desires of others before your own?
Do you constantly look for ways to add value to others?
Do you feel you are a “Serving Leader?”
What does your Leadership Pyramid look like? Are you at the top or bottom. Leadership Servants always put the Organization and others first – above self.
Are you a servant first? Do you put others First?
I thank you and appreciate your comments.
A collection of thoughts and ideas for success in dealing with difficult people or difficult issues compiled by Michael Shields, Salem Keizer Public Schools, Director of Transportation and Auxiliary Services, and David McCuistion, Vanguard Organizational Leadership (VOL).
Conflict and the Dynamics of Understanding
Why conflict? The business of transporting students safely to school will have days that have disruptive conflict with other human beings. How we deal with others, especially during a conflict, is probably the most important factor in our jobs. Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker of About Leaders: Making a Difference, writing in her White Paper on Conversation Map, says that it is a big mistake to avoid situation that are disruptive to workplace environments. Additionally, she said that it is equally important to address the disruption and conflict; not only to resolve the issue, but also to insure the safety and protection of everyone affected by the disruption. The better we do it, the easier our jobs and the better we will feel about ourselves.
As documented by Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs, Every human being has basic needs that must be met before they can become comfortable is any environment.
The primary needs are food, clothing, and shelter. Other needs are to be loved, valued, and appreciated. People have a need to feel in control of themselves and their destinies. Many of the frustrations we encounter on a regular basis, whether from parents, staff, or employees, are because some of these needs have not been met.
When we are dealing with conflict situation it requires us to figure out what or why the person is frustrated or angry. People will get frustrated when they feel they are losing one of these needs. Dr. Stephen Covey encourages us to “Seek First to Understand then to be Understood”; this is habit number five in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” If we are to understand, we must first listen.
Dr. Covey tells us there are five levels of listening: ignoring, pretend listening, selective listening, attentive listening, and empathic listening. The fifth level of listening, “empathic”, is when you listen with both your heart and your mind. People often take positions (position = what they want) and dig their heels in. What you can do is find out their interests (interest = why they want it). Too often we all try to move to a solution before we clearly understand the “why.” The leader must remove him/herself from the position of problem solver and put themselves in the other person’s position to fully understand their position and conflict.
We must listen, not with the intention of responding, but to understand the other person’s position. Instead of thinking of a solution, leaders must listen with empathy to what is being said, to understand the intention of the speaker, the depth of their feelings, while watching for their non-verbal words to compliment the understanding. We must ask ourselves, “Is what I have to say really important to what is being spoken to me, will it really add to the conversation.”
Conflict is Often the Result of Unmet Needs
With many of the people that are frustrated or angry, you may never find out what their underlying problem is. For some of them it may require professional assistance. Your job at resolving the conflict is to attempt to understand what their motivation is for the subject matter before you not whether they need professional help. You must assess the situation. Can this conflict be resolved by conversation, preferably face to face? Does this person always approach you in a difficult manner? Are they swearing or using derogatory terms?
In Making Teams Succeed at Work it says; when two employees are having a conflict at work that they can’t resolve on their own, try this strategy: Ask each employee to paraphrase the other employee’s point of view. This will go a long way toward determining if each employee understands where the other one is coming from. It may be that it’s a simple misunderstanding, which can be easily worked out.
A New Look
Have you noticed the changes that have occurred in the last five years? People are questioning more, they seem to be less trusting.
If you are in a leadership role, then you are automatically in a position of being questioned about your decisions; whether you are a school bus driver and the students are questioning your authority, or an office person and the public is questioning your answers, or a supervisor and the employee is questioning your motives or intent. People today want answers; they want facts that support your answers. The public is upset with a bus driver, and they want written documentation that something was done. The bus driver writes up a student, and they want something in writing from the principal that something was done. All of us are in some leadership role and may have experienced this lack of trust.
I believe it stems from people feeling they are losing control, and they want that control back. The public is starting to vote down levies, because they are frustrated with government in general. Why, because they feel they do not have control. One of the ways we can try to offer people that feeling of control is to get them involved in the process. Find out what their interests are. Try to understand their wants. Then, work together with the information towards a solution.
The most impressive techniques I learned recently were at a three day workshop put on by John and Carol Glaser. The purpose of the workshop was to train the district teams for collaborative negotiations. These teams were from both labor and management. People donated their weekend to complete the training. So what was the training? The prime focus, in my opinion, was to understand the other person’s interests and then to work towards a collaborative solution that addressed both sides interests. The second focus, again in my opinion, was to stay focused on the interests and not on the person(s).
In the final analysis, conflict management requires several personal leadership skills that must be developed and honed in order to resolve internal strife that is detrimental to organizational success.
It is often said that the only thing that is constant in the present day is change. Societal norms play a large part in our personal norms, beliefs and philosophies. While in some cases it may be a good thing, for instance the way technology has improved our methods of doing business, more often societies norms slowly erode the basic values that are foundational and fundamental to society and organizations.
Many societal norms, in the interest of having more “fun” in life, have caused a severe and serious decline in personal morals and ethics. All one has to do is watch the many advertisements, movies and television shows that have not only corrupted our morals, but also degraded the work ethic of the populace, more especially among our young men. Young men today seem confused and confounded by the excessive male-bashing video clips more favorable of the opposite gender causing them to question the importance of their personal manhood and integrity.
Hollywood’s view of open sexuality, some Judicial rulings and political actions have slowly replaced many of the country’s basic religious beliefs in the name of personal pleasure, abortion and “separation of church and state” under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The ever increasing numbers of legal actions against people who exercise little or no personal integrity also permeate the media, which educates our populace toward changing their basic core values – values that Americans have maintained for the past 200-plus years.
I’m reminded of a speech given by now retired United States Marine Corps (USMC) General, now President of Birmingham-Southern College, Charles C. Krulak in which he tells of the gradual erosion of the Roman Legionnaires1 sense of personal integrity through the influence of the “politically correct” Praetorians or Imperial Bodyguards. During the time of the 12 Caesars at their morning inspections, the Legionnaires would strike with their right fist the armor breastplate that covered their heart and yell “Integritas” (In-teg-re-tas), which in Latin meant material wholeness, completeness and entirety. In other words, the integrity of the armor and the man was sound, solid and completely un-impregnable.
The politically correct Praetorians had the finest equipment and armor (i.e. latest technology). They no longer had to shout “Integritas” as their armor was sound. Instead they would shout “Hail Caesar” to signify that their heart, and subsequently their integrity and loyalty, belonged to the imperial personage – not their unit, institution nor their code of ideals, i.e. their core values.
Although the Legionnaires continued to hold fast to their belief, even while changing the shout to “Integer” to indicate their completeness in integrity, the steady social decline had its effects upon the Legion. Slowly because of laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the armor became to heavy to carry and was cast aside, resulting in a loss of personal integrity as well.2
Fast forwarding to the current era, society has taken on some of the declining habits of the Legionnaires. For example, we pay more attention to our smart phones during meetings because our distractions are more fun than the boring meeting.
Similarly, as the heavy armor was cumbersome and uncomfortable, coat and ties give way to Business Casual or relaxed fix jeans and sport shirts. Family nights and weekend football game preclude attending church or some other community service activity. The idea of making a donation to promote some community function is easier than joining in service to the community.
King Solomon also tells us in one of his writings in Proverbs that “The man of integrity walks securely”, that “the integrity of the upright guides them, and that “righteousness guards the man of integrity.”3
In a recent group discussion on the social website LinkedIn, the question was asked, “Should work be fun?” There was an article accompanying the question that focused on how to have fun at work through the addition of “organized fun activities” to enhance the workplace environment. My comment, which did result in some positive feedback, included the following:
The “fun” is in the “doing” – accomplishing the mission and turning the vision into reality. Rewards, recognitions, cakes and punch are the affirmations of the “doing,” the accomplishing, the developing the experience and improving excellence.
We need to quit worrying about having fun all the time, number one because it is not always fun due to challenges, issues and concerns, and two because the intrinsic rewards are long-term and more important than the short-term gifts of fun-time Charlie things.
I tend to focus more in what motivational speaker Mike Frank calls “Leadership PRIDE – Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence.” I added three other “E” parts: Everyone or Ethics or Experience. Fun is about Intrinsic Rewards. Keep the Quest Alive!
Note: “Great Time” image above not associated with LinkedIn Group or the referenced article.4
The idea of having fun in the workplace often lowers standards of common decency that results in sexual harassment comments, unprofessionalism, workplace attire and behaviors that results in questionable integrity of employees.
President John F. Kennedy once said, “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” 5
I believe the “fun” comes from the intrinsic rewards gained from the servant leadership of all employees as they see their accomplishments from their personal efforts, and as they improve in their own lives and the leadership they exhibit as a result of their personal growth. I believe it is my contribution to the human spirit to which President Kennedy referred in his quote.
For years now, when speaking to my Navy Junior ROTC students, I have reminded them that their name and their integrity is what they will take with them to their grave. I can only hope that I am remembered for my contribution to the human spirit as a result of my personal integrity.
Let’s get back to basics of morals and ethics. Integritas!
1. Roman Legionnaire by Augusto Kapronczai retrieved from Warrior in Art Blogspot at http://warriorsinart.blogspot.com/2012/05/roman-legionnaire-by-augusto-kapronczai.html
2. Excerpts from the Keynote address for JSCOPE 2000 by General Charles C. Krulak.
3. NIV Leadership Bible – Leadership Principles from God’s Word, Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; 13:6.
4. “Have a great time” image retrieved on 2/2/2014 from Force 10 Coaching at http://force10coaching.com/2011/04/23/having-fun-at-work/.
5. Retrieved on 2/2/2014 from Book of Famous Quotes at http://famous-quotes.com/topic.php?tid=579.
As I reflect upon the “Roll Tide” fever that is rising throughout Alabama, even in some television commercials following their third National Championship, I am reminded of my own coaching successes, and some of the foundational ideals of leadership and organizational sustainability.
Several words are being thrown around in the sports media that speak to the long-term growth of Alabama Football — “Dynasty” and “Legend”, each which brings to mind leadership legacy.
Alabama coach Nick Saban, post-game and season interviews, outlined several of the factors that have contributed to the Alabama Dynasty, not just during his era at Alabama, but over the years going back to Paul “Bear” Bryant in the 1950s. As I listened to him after the game, in his “Gatorade” soaked shirt, and during his next-day news conference, I thought about the leadership required to build a dynamic, sustainable program in any arena.
Successful Organizations have a Program
There is a foundational ideal around which any successful program is built that becomes the character, the heart, of the organization. It is based on the moral authority of the primary leaders, the CEO, Head Coach, President, etc., which becomes the standard of ethics for the organization.
The leader models the acceptable behaviors for everyone, inside and outside the organization, thereby dictating the value system that must be accepted and incorporated into the personal value system of employees. People and other organizations observe these traits in the daily operation of, not only the organization as a whole, but also, in the performance and behaviors of the team members. Furthermore, leadership holds everyone accountable to these standards, taking necessary corrective action when necessary that upholds the standard.
Coach Saban exhibited his leadership by sending two players home a day after the team’s arrival in Miami because they failed to adhere to acceptable organizational standard of conduct. By doing so, he re-enforced the team expectations, enhanced his respect level, which inspires trust and confidence in his leadership. Coach Saban referred to his action as it related to the “program” of the organization.
Leadership establishes a vision of the organization; not the primary leader’s vision, but the vision of the organization. The primary leadership — Coach, Trustees, shareholder expectations, etc. — collaboratively says, “This is how we want to be perceived outside the company”. The collaboration continues down through the organization to establish buy-in and build the vision into the core of everyone in the organization.
Southwest Airlines vision of low air fares, flight safety, better Customer Service than anyone else with on-time flights has not changed since their inception in the 1970s. As Colleen Barrett, CEO Emirates of Southwest Airlines, says we are a Customer Service company, we just happen to fly air planes. The vision of Alabama Football, which reflects the University’s vision, states, “A Tradition of Champions – A Future of Leaders.” Everything they do, on and off the field, directly relates to their vision.
A strong, value-laden vision is crucial to success and sustainability.
There are five qualities of a successful learning organization: Standards; Instruction; Practice; Feedback; and Release. Obviously, these apply to Universities and competitive teams of all types. It can also be applied to all organizations as well — Corporations, Companies, Religious, Community Service, Youth, etc.
Leadership for long-term sustainability and success needs also to follow this line of reasoning.
- Standards – unarguably a foundational attribute for structure, teamwork, commitment, and performance.
- Instruction – life-long learning is a requirement for personal and organizational growth to prevent stagnation and decline. Change management is necessary to maintain viability in economic terms. Likewise, leadership training is essential for leader growth.
- Practice – expertise requires practice. All teams require practice. whether it be for equipment operation, competition, emergencies or new procedures.
- Feedback – helps improve performance and growth. Employee feedback improves procedures for competing tasks. Feedback is essential to prevent mistakes that are costly to the organization. Employee mentoring is a form of feedback and affect several aspects of organizational performance.
- Release – empowering employees to make decisions relevant to their position in the workplace improves confidence, teamwork and individual leadership. Alabama Football vision reflects this aspect of the learning organization.
Greenleaf called foresight “The Central Ethic of Leadership” and that it is “the lead the leader has.” For Alabama football this is evident in their recruiting program. Leaders must also exhibit systematic foresight to stay ahead technologically, in the market place, fulfilling customer and employee needs, and implementing the almost daily change requirements to remain at the forefront in their business world.
Dynasties are built by leaders who maintain the foundational character of the organization; who keep the vision alive to both the organization and to those who are on the outside looking in; who create a learning environment that is passed on from generation to generation; and who visualize with a systematic foresight of the future. Changing when necessary, updating the system and employee with the required training and instruction, and maintaining a open line of communication up and down the organizational structure.
- Dynasties have Immense PRIDE – a Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence.
- Likewise, Leaders=Demonstrate PRIDE – a Persona Responsibility In Developing Everyone.
- Furthermore, Leadership Builds PRIDE – a Personal Responsibility In Developing Ethics.
The future leaders they develop will live the ethical value system embedded in them from their association with the organization; who in-turn develop leaders, as so on.
The majority of discussions about Servant Leadership center around a calling, listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, character, leading with moral authority and putting other people first in a leader’s practices.
Equally important is the leadership characteristic of courage, if for no other reason than following a theory that is only partially accepted as a realistic leadership philosophy. Courage to stand as a rampart against unethical behaviors, while resisting pressures of high profits at the expense of employee needs and growth requires immense courage by leadership. At times leaders must choose between doing the right thing for employees over sacrificing standards to increase the bottom line.
As Mark Twain tells us, there are two types of courage: Physical and Moral. As he points out, most often courage is thought to be physical. Rarely do we think of the moral aspect of courage. As servant leaders, we must consider both moral and physical courage as a major practice.
To more fully understand this essential quality of leadership, leaders must know be knowledgeable of the differences between morals, ethics and honor. Traditionally, these traits have different and distinct meanings:
Morals – a set of standards or rules that governed one’s behavior; a set of virtues based on the natural law; cultural differences between right and wrong.
Ethics – the behavior one exhibits based on his/her virtues or morals;
Honor – maintaining a proper sense of right and wrong based on moral standards of conduct. As stated by Revolutionary War Hero Capt. John Paul Jones: “I will lay down my life for my country, but I will not trifle with my honor.”
Servant Leaders are expected to be persons of honor, with high standards of morals and ethical behaviors, whose integrity is beyond reproach at all times; 24/7 even when no one is looking or watching.
Until recently, courage meant physical courage only, with little consideration for the moral or ethical aspects of the behavior. Saving a person’s life meant placing one’s self in danger with the possibility of sacrificing one’s life to save another person. In the military, such action is sometimes recognized with the awarding of the Medal of Honor for valor above and beyond the call of ordinary duty.
Leadership physical courage can be exhibited in several other ways.
- Training an employee in the proper procedures of completing a task or responsibility.
- · Educating – scheduled and impromptu – employees on a proposed change or policy.
- · Mentoring and counseling when employee behaviors indicate a need for one or the other.
- Conflict resolution – especially during heated moments of aggression by employees.
- · Public speaking on a wide variety of subject matter relative to one’s knowledge and expertise.
A Servant Leader’s honor depends on their exhibiting high standards of moral courage. Examples include some of the following behaviors.
- Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, especially when under pressure to look the other way or to lower standards of conduct in performance with the idea of motivating future positive behaviors.
- Standing up for the leaders beliefs in defense of one’s honor.
- Making honest decisions based on organizational ethical standards with unwavering principles.
- Admitting mistakes, even in the most embarrassing of situations.
- Confronting unethical behaviors when discovered and taking responsible corrective action that may even require terminating an employee.
- Setting the standard in performance according to organizational morals and ethics
Servant Leaders authenticity can only be maintained and emulated by adhering to the highest possible standards of moral and physical courage.
Where do you stand in your leadership courage? Do you stand as a rampart against unethical and immoral behaviors by employees? Are you an authentic Servant Leader?
I’d love to read your comments. Thank you.
Empathy is described by Robert Greenleaf as one of the twelve characteristics of Servant Leadership. Obviously, when leading from the heart, as is the intent of a serving leader, one has to exercise extreme patience, compassion and understanding in their day-to-day interaction with others.
Be that as it may, just how empathetic should one be in their daily efforts of making a difference in the lives of those whom they are leading? How much empathy is necessary of a servant leader? Until I was asked this question by an interviewing school principal, I admit I had not given much thought to this important Servant Leadership characteristic.
Empathy – not sympathy for the situation of others – is defined as the intellectual identification with, or vicarious experiencing of, the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. In other words, the feelings or attitudes felt within one’s self when considering the feelings, thoughts, attitudes, or expressions of heart-felt concern over an issue that is causing intrinsic anxiety, apprehension or worry in another person.
Leadership is a responsibility that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort in dealing with people as they carry-out the day-to-day tasks of their individual jobs. Leadership today requires more than just expecting the necessary performances of employees to meet company missions and goals.
Larry Spears, in his Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century, points out that there is a new leadership paradigm, a new moral principle that requires a new leadership model for successfully leading people to higher levels of success in the organization.
Old Paradigm: Control, Regulations; Manager/Leader Directed; Employee treated like children; Warlike Values.
New Paradigm: Openness, People Oriented; Cooperation, relationships; employee treated like adults; Integrity, trust, mutual respect.
Spears also writes that there is a new “Moral Principle” that says, “The only authority deserving one’s allegiance is given freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader.”
This allegiance is strengthened when employees see in leadership a clearly evident “servant stature” of the leader. In other words, a caring and empathetic attitude emanating from leadership that creates within those led a level of trust and loyalty not normally obtained under the old paradigm of leadership.
This type leadership as a model that is based on teamwork and community building techniques. It seeks to involve others in the decision making process, and actually empowers employees to make decision in their daily job tasks that promote organizational success for the good of the organization.
Servant Leadership is Empathic Leadership that is based on an ethical and caring behavior toward employees that enhances their personal growth, which creates a trusting belief that the leader is intrinsically concerned about the welfare of others.
Just how far does a servant leader go to create this level of trust, this showing of how much you really care about the personal growth of the employees? Is it more important than the organizational vision of expansion and higher levels of profits? Evidence is beginning to emerge that indicates empathic leaders contribute more to the bottom line than the old paradigm of leadership. People will tell you, “I don’t care how much you know, show me how much you care.”
The premier leader of all time tell us that when someone asks you go with them a mile, you should go with them two miles. Empathic leaders “go the extra mile” in their leadership to instill a high level of trust from those under their charge. Leaders can instill this level of empathy in a number of ways.
Key empathic leadership principles include the following empathy-based practices.
- Lead from a value-based, principle-centered position of moral authority. Do the right thing with employees, empower them to make sound personal and organizational decisions. Lead from a set of consistent standards of performance, yet allowing for some flexible boundaries for personal growth. Delegate tasks, share power, while creating a culture of accountability. Maintain your personal integrity.
- Operate from a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Be aware of your own level of empathy, transparency and service orientation. Develop empathic leaders who will in turn develop other empathic leaders. Be an agent of change for personal growth, not only in yourself, but also in the well-being of others.
- Become an empathic listener, who seeks to identify the internal “will” of other’s conversations. Be receptive to what “is” being said, as well as what “is not” being said, seeking to understand what the person’s spirit and mind is saying. Observe what the non-verbal signals are sending as well as with the words that are spoken.
- Maxwell says, “Treat everyone like a 10.” Empathic leaders treat everyone from the same value-based standard, exhibiting a deep-seated belief that everyone has intrinsic and extrinsic value. Empathetic leadership exhibits a strong commitment to the personal growth of everyone – provide professional development; listen to suggestions, reflect on their value and incorporate where appropriate.
- Make employees your “Number 1” priority – put people first in your leadership. Lead from your heart, with compassion as you help others meet their highest priority development needs. Empathic leaders desire to “serve first”, demonstrating a personal calling in the interest of others.
- Tough Love. Being empathic does not negate the requirement for confronting behaviors that run counter to organizational norms. Leaders must be compassionate in their leadership and caring when correcting behavioral concerns, exercising all the ideas above. Empathy doesn’t mean leaders will accept performance that is below standards, employee strife that interferes with teamwork, or decision-making that reduces productivity. Empathic leaders are also proactive leaders, correcting problems to maintain organizational efficiency.
How empathetic should you be in your leadership? How far will you go to lead others? Each leader must answer that question for themselves. For me it is going the extra miles when required, to enhance their lives. Instead of giving up on someone, attempt to improve them. You will see the difference you made and, more importantly, you will feel the intrinsic reward from your empathic leadership efforts.
Thank you for your comments.