ethical decision-making

How COVID-19 Is Creating New Ethical Dilemmas For Business Leaders

15 September, 2020

Ethical business leadership has become more important than ever in an era of social media and consumers that are willing to vote with their wallets.

Whether an issue of discrimination, sexual harassment, environmental damage or financial misconduct, allegations of unethical behaviour within a business can destroy years – even decades – of built-up community trust.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new ethical dilemmas for business leaders and managers.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership CEO Vanessa Pigrum and Steven Ronson, Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director for Enforcement and alumnus of the Executive Colloquium program, share their insights on what it takes to be an ethical leader, and highlight the importance of ethical decision-making for leadership teams and boards.

“Leaders will need to be careful there aren’t two separate work cultures developing – those in the office and those at home,” Ms Pigrum said. “There will be a need for rigorous examination so that your team, no matter where they are working, have the same access to decision making and communication and a sense of fairness and transparency.”

Mr Ronson notes that “Superannuation funds hold close to $3 trillion and industry super funds account for well over half of that and those investment decisions from super boards are putting pressure on corporate boards to exercise their social license appropriately so they have got to make ethical decisions.”

“You have got to make a profit but you also have to show you are accountable, transparent and doing good.”

Mr Ronson, who attended a six-day Executive Colloquium with Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership last year, said aspiring leaders hoping to refine their ethical decision-making skills should ask themselves two questions before an action: Is the action wholesome? Is it going to benefit as many people as possible?

“Always be mindful, even under pressure,” he said.

“Be compassionate, prudent, fair and try to pause during the day and think ‘Is what I am doing going to result in fairness and justice?’

“You have got to check yourself and be mindful and reflective.”

Adelaide Advertiser, News Corp, Melanie Burgess, 15 September 2020. Read the full article here.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.

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