ImageDuring this year, I have spoken for a number of companies/organizations, both here and overseas. No matter what the industry, there were four ethical challenges that consistently were mentioned that needed to be further addressed with greater intensity and commitment by leadership. Here they are for your consideration as you plan your meetings, conventions and training initiatives.

One: The lack of transparency.

For example, how transparent are the government structures, decision marking processes, policies and procedures in your organization? Knowledge is power. If you want buy in, if you want people to believe and develop a sense of trust, transparency is key in business today.

Two: The lack of trust.

What’s your word worth as leader? Is your word your bond? Why should they trust you?

We have a lot of those people in our lives, i.e. your barber, your dentist, your hairdresser, your doctor, your lawyer. How did you hear about these people? Well, someone told us to go to this barber, dentist, hairdresser, etc.  Then there was a development of trust that  kept you going back to them. You willfully trust because they have proven to be trustworthy over the course of the relationship. Trust is the lynchpin of leadership.

Three: The lack of accountability

How well does your organization do in its accountability for anticipating and responding to ethical challenges? Everyone’s accountable, not just responsible.  Here’s the differentiation between being responsible and being accountable. Being responsible is just, I’m responsible so I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Being accountable means, I’m accountable to everybody else that I interact with and that adds a whole lot more weight to leadership than just being a responsible leader. Accountability is very crucial.

Four: The lack of stewardship

Here’s the definition of stewardship to consider: stewardship is what we do after we say we believe. It’s how your people live out your mission statement, your values statement, you need to understand in living out that stewardship that people listen with their eyes, they do not listen with their ears. People will believe, people will trust, people will be accountable when they see the leader live the values they’ve been preaching, espousing, writing, incorporating in the mission statement, etc. They listen with their eyes.

So as the economy continues to recover, as we look forward to the New Year, the age of responsibility is now upon us now more than ever and it’s up to all of us to answer these ethical challenges of leadership.