Hard Decisions: Ethics Aren’t Easy?

Many great leaders develop an impeccable decision-making process. They have the ability to think about an issue from all perspectives and think both intelligently and creatively before implementing a decision. However, as a leader, it is also important to be aware of your ethical blind-spots.

Trying to make decisions that are considered “ethical” and good decisions for an organization makes a leader’s job more difficult. Some decisions even “feel” right ethically, but some harm may be done to parties involved that wasn’t considered.

Through self-awareness, leaders can better understand the way that they prioritize their values as well the Ethical Lens that they view experiences and information through. This sense of self-awareness can make hard decisions easier to approach and comprehend.

Meanwhile, as leaders become increasingly self-aware, they have an easier time understanding other leader’s viewpoints. In turn, this will empower leaders to communicate controversial decisions or major changes to a wide base of constituents. The increase in the quality of communication can lead to a better understanding of the ethical side of an issue — company-wide. In turn, this will increase the overall success of the company.

For example, through ethical decision making, “The founder for Teach for America, Wendy Kopp, was able to make a tough decision” (CNBC). She was honest with herself and her company about her capabilities.

As a result, “She realized that being the brains and driving force behind the operation didn’t necessarily make her the best person to lead her company. She decided to completely reorganize TFA, bringing in people with more experience in strategic planning, program development, and fundraising. Today, TFA is a $300 million social enterprise” (CNBC).


Let’s be honest – making the right decision isn’t always easy, however, time and time again we’ve seen business leaders execute an ethical decision for the betterment of their business or even society. Being self-aware and mindful of who you are as a leader is the first step to becoming the leader your organization needs.

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