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Managing External Relationships (Ethics)

The key factor in managing the relationship of your team to other parts of the organisation and external stakeholders is in how you and your team members conduct yourselves.

It is about the values and behaviours that you display in your relationships. Ultimately, it is about ethics—about what constitutes right and wrong behaviour.

In his book, Ethicability, Roger Steare identifies three essential components of ethical leadership:

  • Principled conscience: Acting in accordance with our deeply held values/virtues.
  • Social conscience: Acting in a manner that is considered right or acceptable in a specific social context.
  • Rule compliance: Acting within and according to legal rights and duties.

Principled conscience
This is the type of consciousness that we display when we are operating from our soul-mind. It is what keeps us in integrity and creates authenticity. At its core, principled conscience is values-based decision-making. A high degree of personal mastery is essential for operating with a principled conscience because it takes courage to do what you know and believe is right in all situations. When people are focused on trying to satisfy their ego deficiency needs, principled conscience may fly out of the window. Principled conscience demands high levels of integrity.

Social conscience
This is similar to principled conscience but in a larger context. The challenge here is to live in accordance with the values of the group that you are affiliated with or the group to which you belong. Social conscience works on the principle of what is best for the majority should take precedence over what is best for the individual. You will only operate with a social conscience if you identify with the group to which you belong.

Rule compliance
Rules are put in place to help people clearly distinguish what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour: To distinguish what is believed to be right action, from what is believed to be wrong action. There are usually legal consequences in the form of punishments if you fail to live by the rules. Rules are only required if people cannot be trusted to do the right thing.


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