Global Ethics Corner: Can Effective Leaders be Ethical Leaders?

Nov 23, 2008

Are ethics primary questions that precede and surround practical leadership? Are these daily questions that inform each political decision?

Recently, Joseph Nye outlined six skills that are crucial for effective leaders. But, how does moral choice fit into these skills?

Are ethics primary questions that precede and surround practical leadership? Are these daily questions that inform each political decision?

This dilemma focuses the compromise that leaders face, between principle and effectiveness. When is half a loaf better than none?

Soft power, the power of attraction, emphasizes three skills:
1) Emotional intelligence, the ability to master your emotions and to use them to attract others,
2) Vision, the ability to portray a picture of the future that attracts followers, and
3) Communicating that vision, both nonverbally and verbally.

Hard power, coercion and carrots, employs two skills:
4) Organization, managing information flows and reward systems, and
5) The Machiavellian ability to size up the weakness, strengths, likes, and dislikes of others and build winning coalitions.

The sixth, overarching skill is contextual intelligence, aligning your tactics and strategy with the times.

What do you think? Is moral choice a part of every skill, or something that only informs one, like vision?

When do leaders slide down from principle to unscrupulous behavior?

Do these skills constrain or enable ethical political decisions?

By William Vocke

To post a comment, go to the Global Ethics Corner slideshow.

You may also like

APR 30, 2024 Podcast

Is AI Just an Artifact? with Joanna Bryson

In this episode, host Anja Kaspersen is joined by Hertie School's Joanna Bryson to discuss the intersection of computational, cognitive, and behavioral sciences, and AI.

FEB 27, 2024 Video

A Carnegie Council Conversation with the UK Home Secretary

In this speech, the UK Home Secretary outlined the range of opportunities and challenges faced by countries as a consequence of migration.

FEB 15, 2024 Video

Charles W. Kegley, Jr. Lecture Series: A Place for Ethics in World Politics

In the inaugural Charles W. Kegley, Jr. Lecture, Stephen Hibbard, former chair of Carnegie Council, discusses "A Place for Ethics in World Politics."

Not translated

This content has not yet been translated into your language. You can request a translation by clicking the button below.

Request Translation