Ethics and Leadership
I never got caught up on Game of Thrones before the last season aired. So, I just binge-watched all the seasons. Watching it brought me to the idea of Ethics and Leadership. Just in case you have not watched (or ever heard of) Games of Thrones, it is an adaptation of the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” It’s a huge hit tv series on HBO. It centers around 7 families fighting for the right to sit on the Iron Throne and lead the kingdom.
“All things of importance in life must be done beneath
the open sky.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Song Of Ice and Fire
At the heart of show, these 7 families all struggle with their differing styles of leadership and ethics. The idea of ethics and chivalry in leadership reminded me of the Knights Code of Chivalry and how far back “business ethics and leadership” go.
The Code of Chivalry as a moral system went beyond rules of combat and introduced the concept of Chivalrous conduct. Knighthood idealized these qualities. They included bravery, courtesy, honor, valor, loyalty and gallantry toward women (the age-old ideal of a “Knight in Shining Armor”).
ETHICS AND LEADERSHIP
According to Scott Farrell, founder and director of the Chivalry Today Educational Program, the common themes found in these knightly virtues make up the modern code of chivalry known as the 7 Knightly Virtues. These virtues are actually what we all desire in a better leader.
- Courage: More than bravado or bluster, today’s knight in shining armor must have the courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved.
- Justice: A knight in shining armor holds him- or herself to the highest standard of behavior, and knows that “fudging” on the little rules weakens the fabric of society for everyone.
- Mercy: Words and attitudes can be painful weapons in the modern world, which is why a knight in shining armor exercises mercy in his or her dealings with others, creating a sense of peace and community, rather than engendering hostility and antagonism.
- Generosity: Sharing what’s valuable in life means not just giving away material goods, but also time, attention, wisdom and energy — the things that create a strong, rich and diverse community.
- Faith: In the code of chivalry, “faith” means trust and integrity, and a knight in shining armor is always faithful to his or her promises, no matter how big or small they may be.
- Nobility: This word is sometimes confused with “entitlement” or “snobbishness.” However, in the code of chivalry it conveys the importance of upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching.
- Hope: More than just a safety net in times of tragedy, hope is present every day in a modern knight’s positive outlook and cheerful demeanor — the shining armor that shields him or her, and inspires people all around.
A BETTER LEADER
While each of these virtues is an important character traits by itself, when your employees see them comprised together in a leader, they quickly discover the worth and power of ethical behavior in today’s workplace. If you lead others, it’s also critical to inspire this level of moral excellence out in the employees you encounter every day, allowing everyone to see their best qualities reflected in your shining armor.
The truth is, though, sometimes ethical behavior is tough to define. That’s why A Better Leader created an online lesson in “Ethics and Leadership.” In it, your leaders get a quick and easy 4-question quiz to determine if their decision or action is ethical. Your leaders are also given 6 steps they can take to work toward ethical behavior. They’ll also learn a deeper understanding of the reasons behind the importance of ethical behavior.