Thursday, 4 February 2010

Leadership and Ethics

To be a good leader, you need to have a strong sense of right and wrong. Leaders need to learn about ethics as part of their leadership development because they have real power in their organisations and a responsibility to execute it ethically.

Ultimately ethical awareness and decision making are important characteristics of leaders. However, many leadership development programmes focus on competence (i.e. developing specific skills such as strategic thinking) as opposed to developing a leader’s ethics and character. The business world is littered with people who were very competent but behaved extremely badly.

Leaders who visibly demonstrate ethical behaviour develop trust in their organisations. Trust leads to more effective working relationships, empowerment, individual responsibility and ultimately creates greater levels of commitment, engagement and performance.

To develop ethical behaviour, leaders need to understand how to demonstrate the importance of:

  • Integrity - doing what you say you will do
  • Honesty - telling the truth
  • Responsibility - fulfilling obligations of your role and accepting the consequences
  • Respect - recognising diversity and worth of people
  • Service - contributing to the welfare of others
  • Justice - adherence to moral law, fairness and compassion
  • Moral courage - willingness and commitment to do what is right despite uncertainty, risk and fear

Teaching ethics can help leaders balance their personal concerns with professional and financial accomplishments.

At Developing People Ltd, we use discussions, scenarios and case studies to provide practical applications of ethics in business. This helps leaders to be more conscious of the ethics of their own business practices and to learn to assess their responsibilities as leaders and managers.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Train your managers to manage sickness effectively

According to research, the first Monday in February is the day in the year when staff are traditionally most likely to take an unofficial day off work.

Peter Mooney, of the Employment Law Advisor Services (ELAS) conducted the research and believes that taking a ‘sickie’ is becoming easier as some employers are dispensing with the traditional requirement to phone in sick in favour of other means of communication such as text messaging.

According to the CBI, sickness is causing organisations big problems. For example, workers in the Heath and Social Care sector take an average of 12.6 days per year which is over double those taken by private sector employees (5.8 days per year).

The key to resolving this problem is for organisations to have clear sickness policies and procedures and to train their managers to deal with the issue.

Managers need to have management training to help them to understand the difference between short term and long term sickness absence.

For cases of short term absence managers need to ensure that they know how to conduct return to work interviews, to identify patterns in the individual’s absences (e.g. is it always on a Monday or Friday?) and to discuss with the individual whether there are any underlying reasons for the absence. If there are underlying reasons, managers need to now how to deal with them (e.g. by referring them to occupational health).

For cases of long term sickness, managers need to stay in contact with the employee and if appropriate, visit them at home, Managers should encourage those on long term sick to remain in contact with work and if appropriate drop into work for short periods to see their colleagues. They may also need to get an independent occupational health assessment made to determine whether the individual is fit for work.

When disciplinary issues arise, managers also need to have the skills, confidence and capability to discipline staff effectively.

Ultimately managers need to know how to manage both long term and short term sickness absence, and the best way for this to happen is for organisations to ensure their mangers receive the appropriate management training.

See original article here.