Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Leadership Style

There are many different leadership styles. Only some are conducive to the ethical operation of agencies and are supported by evidence that they deliver outcomes such as employee job satisfaction and dedication, and willingness to report problems to management.

High performing organisations enjoy the advantage of better quality leaders who are seen by employees as having one or more of the following three characteristics:

  • Authenticity
    Leaders know the goals for the future, are clear about the importance of those goals, and show integrity in how they conduct themselves. These leaders also are receptive to feedback, even criticism, and see this as a learning opportunity to improve their leadership and the performance of the agency.  Employees trust these leaders and supervisors, see them “living the values” and are happy to take on the agency’s shared goals and values
  • Development orientation
    Leaders delegate responsibility, increase staff involvement in decision-making and foster collaboration and a problem-solving approach to meeting customer needs. This approach is particularly effective in networked organisations which perform best when employees are encouraged, enabled and motivated to contribute to their full potential and to deliver innovative and effective customer services
  • People orientation
    Leaders at all levels of the agency provide clear support to all employees, regardless of seniority, gender or other diversity characteristics, and encourage them to be the very best they can at work.  Employees trust this type of leader and are more committed and productive because they feel valued, and treat positively frank feedback on their performance. 

Two other common leadership styles – being directive, controlling and intimidating; or being laissez-faire and not communicating a clear strategic direction, business agenda or high standards for employee conduct – are correlated with poor ethical conduct and low agency performance.