The Role Of Character, Ethics, Values, And Beliefs In Leadership

The character of values and ethics

Values and ethics are crucial to any organization with those operating insecurity of the nation being no exception (Bolden, et al., 2016). Values and ethics are broad terms when it comes to defining such terms and as such concentrating on important elements such as strategic leadership and decision makers in light of this terms provides a relevant definition.

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The definition of values spans across the concept of giving benefits to things that are considered important or valued to someone (National Defense University, n.d.). The context of someone here refers to an individual, society or an organization. Values are crucial when it comes to areas such developing vision. One of the prerequisites for an institutional vision is that it has to be based on and be relevant to the key values of an organization (Bolden , et al., 2011). In one of the illustrations entailing vision statement, the primary benefits of an organization in this context concerning integrity, teamwork, and professionalism were considered crucial enough to be contained within the explanation of the institution. In one of the articles, “The Ethical Dimensions of National Security,” illustrates that honesty and loyalty as values that are components of integrity. Thus, when members belonging to a particular organization share values, such values become fundamental tools for evaluating likely result of actions that are contemplated, making judgments and for making choices among alternatives.

 More importantly is that it puts all members in the same boat with regards to what is considered crucial by all members. As per the army in 1986, the theme of the year was valued and noted four institutional values that are loyalty, duty, and service among others. Also, four other individual values were listed, and these were competence, courage, and condor among others (Western, 2013). Values as per the army are what professionals have to judge as being right. Values are not just empty words; they entail moral and professional attributes of a character. In one of the testimonies by a soldier, some values are considered to be core values and must be incorporated in members of the army that are both civilian and uniformed constables alike. However, these are not the primary values that should influence character but are the ones that are crucial to the military profession and should serve as a guide to many lives in helping the county.

Values are considered to be the embodiment of what an institution stands for and should be the source of good behavior for its members (Gosling, et al., 2012). The primary question that arises is what would happen when members of an organization fail to share while not internalizing values of the organization. As such a disconnect between values that are both individual and organization will be non-functional. Also, an organization may list one set of values in a bid to establish a positive image while values that act as a guide to the desired behavior of an organization are different.

When a disconnect exists between stated and operating costs, it becomes hard to determine what is deemed as acceptable. A good illustration is the case of two organizational values in the army such as candor and courage where an officer may be motivated to exercise bravery by confessing their actions and as such speak transparently of their disagreements (Grint, 2005). It has been found that this does work in some cases, but in others, it fails.

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Values as a source of good behavior for members

The same happens in the level of the society. The principles that have been set to facilitate the functioning of the community fail to conform to the stipulated laws. The individuals in power may maliciously allow the use of authority to suppress debate so that they remain in control. A good illustration is the death squads. However, in other organizations, dissent gets rewarded by termination which is equivalent to the action of a death squad in an organization. As such members of a group have to be fast learners when it comes to operating values otherwise, they may not survive for a long duration. If the organization experiences differences in stated amounts, then such an organization may not only suffer from doing things ineffectively but also from its members’ cynicism who have a reason for mistrusting leadership (Grint, 2010).

Values provide the needed ground for judgments regarding what is considered as important for the institution to prevail and remain successful in its primary business. Thus, there are some disconnects, and it is these disconnects that are the epitomes of problems. However, the key purpose of values that prevails. Costs either state actual or idealized method for analyzing options and deciding what is relevant based on experience (Roe, 2014). For example, the relevance of values by the army is transparent and open. Thus, when soldiers are called upon by their colleagues of the existence of mortal danger in their line of duty, they have to express utmost trust and faith on their fellow soldiers to help them in the time of need and guard their leaders from the unnecessary danger. Thus, it is the values of the army that set the base for conditions that propel trust, a fundamental element for expressing the desire to face any danger and hostility (Jones & Gosling, 2015). The lack of faith facilitates low-risk tolerance, and this impedes the overall effectiveness of any particular organization. Behaving ethically entails behaving in a manner that shows consistency with what is suggested to be morally right.

The bedrock of any mutual trust rests on the existence of ethical behavior. Thus, considering how values and ethics relate to each other and what is meant by ethics is important. As seen one of the above paragraphs, values were defined as what is considered right by profession and entail judging what is right. In both the context of individual and organizational scenarios, it is the values that determine what is either right or wrong and the aspect of doing what is right or wrong is what entails of ethics. As such behaving ethically means behaving in a manner that is consistent with what is considered right or moral. Thus, a critical question emerges, and part of the problem entails determining whether the behavior is ethical or not and also in dictating what is right or wrong.

Perhaps the first place to look for when it comes to the issue of gauging what is right or wrong then the society is the first place to look for. All communities have got systems that they use in determining morally correct behavior. For instance, in Islamic countries, the religion is used in deciding what ethically correct response is. However, in societies that are considered secular, the impact of religious beliefs may be less effective but remains a crucial factor. In the United States, for instance, the heritage of Judeo-Christian is used in determining what is either right or wrong. The Ten Commandments for many individuals explain what is morally right or wrong. The societies not only play the role of regulating the behavior of their members but also play the role of defining societal key values. Life and liberty define the path for happiness, and this represents values that are regarded as core values.

The importance of shared values

It is through experience that societies have learned to develop beliefs about what is normally considered to be for the common good. It is important to note that different communities have got different specifics though the general principles remain identical. One illustration is the idea of reciprocity where it is postulated that one good deed leads to another good act. The other notion is that of the good intent. The last thought is that of appreciation of the progress of others irrespective of individual feelings.

All the above notions entail the implied should focus on how individuals should interact and respond towards one another in both organizations and societies. It is the should that define the collective endeavor since they are necessary to extend platforms for trust and group relationships which involve risks. The higher the potential danger, the more fundamental ethical practices arise.

Organizations to some degree define what is considered right or wrong for the organization’s members. Some ethical codes such as those of a cadet that requires a cadet not to steal, cheat and lie and may not tolerate those who engage in such vices. As per the cadet, loyalty to both the nation and the army is crucial. It is the selfless service that puts nation’s welfare first, and the accomplishment of an assigned mission comes first before the personal individual.

Character and servant leadership

As a rapid shift is being experienced in many businesses and in Non-governmental organizations that are non-profit-making entities away from hierarchical and autocratic conventional leadership models towards servant leadership. Servant leadership aims to include others in the decision-making process and is based on behavior that is ethical and caring and as such enhances workers progress while improving quality needed in the life of an organization. The initial understanding of character has a lot to do with important traits that are exhibited by an individual.

In the past few years, there has been needing and demand in understanding the concept of nature of the character and character literacy believing that traits that are considered positive can be taught and learned (Spears, 2010). Most individuals as of today are familiar with the program that was established on character counts by Josephson school of Ethics. The plan was later adopted by a handful of schools and communities in various parts of the world and teaches key values that are normally knowns as the six pillars of character.

The nature of the character and its association with leaders has also risen in recent years. A character can be defined as deep foundations of personality that are specifically resistant to change. The literature about leadership entails some various listings of character traits that are practiced by leaders. When one aspires to become a leader, then multiple characteristics are deemed to be effective for leaders. It has been said that much of the literature entails assumptions that are implicit and the belief that positive attributes should be emphasized and practiced by leaders.

The servant leader is considered first a servant. This starts with a natural feeling that some individual feels to serve. It is such conscious mind that enables one to aspire to lead. The best evaluation here is to search the inner soul and answer whether the people they serve have grown and progressed and whether when such persons have become healthier and independent. The concept of servant leadership has continued to gain ground as it seen as the ideal leadership type that many people and organizations dream of becoming. As of today, people are witnessing an unapparelled explosion of passion in the establishment of servant leadership. The terms servant and leader are normally interchanged as being opposites. In a bid to bring people together in a meaningful manner.

Ethics and behaving consistently with what is moral


Leaders have been valued traditionally for their communication and skills in the decision-making process. Though such skills are deemed crucial for servant leadership, they require being reinforced by a profound commitment to listen to other people intently (Spears, 2010). The servant leader strives to recognize the wish of a group and assists in clarifying such desires. Servant leadership entails listening receptively to what is being said. The art of listening also involves listening to the inner self-voice. It is through listening accompanied by moments of reflection that provides a platform for vital growth and health of a servant leader.


The servant leader also endeavors to fathom and empathize with other individuals. Individuals need to be received and recognized for their unique spirits. Individuals assume intentions that are positive of their coworkers and colleagues and does not ignore them even in the event they are forced to accept or decline some behaviors. It has been pointed out that the servant leaders who were most successful are those who have mastered being empathetic listeners.


The healing process with regards to relationships is a powerful force needed for transformation and key trait with servant leadership is its capability to heal the relationship that one has with others (Spears, 2010). It is reported that many people have been broken down emotionally and as such sustain serious emotional hurts. Though this is part of human life, servant leaders identify that they have an avenue to assist make whole individuals they have in contact with.


One of the traits associated with servant leaders is depending on persuasion as opposed to one’s position of power in the process of establishing decisions within the organization. It is the responsibility of a servant leader to convince others rather than use force and coercion to force people to follow orders. This specific component provides one of transparent differentiation that exists between the conventional authoritarian framework and that of servant leadership. It is the role of servant of a leader to be useful in developing and initiating consensus among group members. The focus on persuasion, as opposed to coercion, finds its source in the beliefs that were established by the Quakers a denomination institution that Greenleaf was affiliated to.


One of the duties of a servant leader is to nurture their potential to dream big dreams. The power to analyze a problem or an institution from the perspective of conceptualization translates that one has to go beyond daily activities and think beyond some limits. As such conceptualization is a trait that many potential leaders require with regards to discipline and practice aspect. A conventional leader is occupied by the desire and the need to have attained milestones associated with short-term goals. As such a leader who aspires to be a servant leader has to extend their thinking to entail conceptual thinking that is broad-based. In most organizations, one of the primary responsibilities of the board of directors is to facilitate conceptualization in the organization. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, the same boards are often involved in daily operations of the organization, and this should be discouraged otherwise it may fail to situate the visionary concept for a particular organization. Servant leaders thus are called to find a delicate balance that exists between conceptual thinking and a daily working approach.

Society’s role in shaping beliefs about what is right and wrong

Commitment to the progress of the people

Servant leaders are of the notion that individuals have a value that is intrinsic that extends beyond their physical contributions as employees. Thus, servant leaders are committed to the progress of every person within their organizations. The servant leader prioritizes the tremendous responsibility of having everything done within his power so that there is nurturing of the personal and professional progress of workers and their workmates. In reality, this can entail taking concrete actions, for instance, making finances available for development with regards to professional and individual progress. This also involves, having a personal interest in opinions and ideas from other individuals, supporting worker participation in decision-making and proactively helping workers that have lost their jobs in finding other jobs.

Building community

A servant leader makes observations and senses that much has been lost based on the history of people due to massive shifts from the local societies to institutions that are classified as significant and such alterations are defined as the vital shaper of people’s lives. It is from such awareness that makes a servant leader find and identify some ways and strategies for constructing and developing the community for people working in particular organizations. The concept of servant leadership opines that an actual and ideal society can be built among people working in enterprises and other organizations. What is needed mostly in rebuilding the community is a form of life that is viable for a multitude that is substantial for servant leaders to lead.

Challenges and consequences of conceptualizing such ideas

Generally, what is considered right or wrong depends on what the society regards as positive values and also depends on the organization that one belongs, thus what is right or wrong should be open and transparent. The other important aspect that needs to be prioritized is the influence that the societal or organizational traditions have on individuals. Norms in this context refer to the rules that are unstated that are normally propelled by members of a particular group and as such regulate the behavior of group members. Norms are associated to have a greater impact when it comes to the point of what gets exercised by members of a specific group compared to the rules and regulations.

The sole reasons why norms are important when it comes to the discussion of topics such as values and ethics is because standards allow and condone particular behaviors as being okay that is they may not keep up with organizations or society’s stipulated values. Whenever there are a gap and huge disparities between stated and operating values, it may be hard to determine what is right in this context. A good illustration is a company that has set its stated values to have everyone respected with utmost dignity through the norms allow and, in some instances, encourages some form of sexual harassment for a certain period.

One question that lingers is whether such organizations know of the existence of such behaviors. It is thus transparent to the Bosnian Serbs that some of the practices associated with ethnic cleansing are unethical and morally wrong. Based on the arguments that support ethnic cleansing, it will be evident that most of the perpetrators were of the notion that they did nothing wrong and that they were doing the wrongs they had committed right.


With the above-stated traits of servant leadership, it is by all means not exhaustive. However, servant leaders do serve by communicating the authority and promise of such concept. The interest in defining values, ethics and servant leadership concepts has been growing over the past few years. The idea of servant leadership is said to occur in many people and occur like natural occurrences naturally and can be improved through practice and learning. Servant leadership gives great hope for people and promises a better future by creating institutions that are caring.


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Grint, K., 2010. Leadership: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jones, S. & Gosling, J., 2015. Napoleonic Leadership. London: Sage Publications.

National Defense University, n.d. Strategic Leadership and Decision Making:values and ethics. [Online]
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Roe, K., 2014. Leadership: Practice and Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spears, L. C., 2010. Character and Servant Leadership: Ten Characteristics. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, 1(1), pp. 25-30.

Western, S., 2013. Leadership: A Critical Text. London : Sage Publications.