Q1.  Does ethics interfere with the leader's ability to be effective?

Ethics does not inherently hinder a leader's efficacy; on the contrary, ethical leadership can bolster effectiveness (Brown & Treviño, 2006).  Approaches like authentic, ethical, and servant leadership underscore the significance of moral values, openness, and prioritising the welfare of team members (Avolio & Gardner, 2005).

By integrating ethical principles, leaders can cultivate trust, loyalty, and dedication among their followers, ultimately increasing engagement, cooperation, and productivity (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002).  Furthermore, ethical leaders can establish a positive organisational culture that encourages ethical decision-making, mitigating the risk of malpractice or reputational harm (Treviño et al., 2003).

In certain circumstances where unethical behaviour is prevalent or anticipated, ethical leaders may encounter challenges such as opposition, protracted decision-making processes, or short-term setbacks (Weaver et al., 2005).  Despite these potential hurdles, the enduring benefits of ethical leadership generally surpass the disadvantages, culminating in enhanced organisational performance and long-term stability (Peterson et al., 2009).


  • Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 315-338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.001
  • Brown, M.E., & Treviño, L.K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595-616. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2006.10.004
  • Dirks, K.T., & Ferrin, D L. (2002). Trust in leadership: Meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 611-628. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.611
  • Peterson, S.J., Walumbwa, F.O., Byron, K., & Myrowitz, J. (2009). CEO positive psychological traits, transformational leadership, and firm performance in high-technology start-up and established firms. Journal of Management, 35(2), 348-368. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206307312512
  • Treviño, L.K., Brown, M., & Hartman, L.P. (2003). A qualitative investigation of perceived executive ethical leadership: Perceptions from inside and outside the executive suite. Human Relations, 56(1), 5-37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726703056001448
  • Weaver, G.R., Trevino, L.K., & Agle, B. (2005). "Somebody I look up to:" Ethical role models in organisations. Organisational Dynamics, 34(4), 313. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2005.08.001

Q2.  What is authentic leadership?  Should authentic leaders reflect organisational needs and demands or their good and bad subjectivities?

Authentic leadership emphasises a leader's genuine, transparent, and self-aware characteristics (Avolio & Gardner, 2005).  This is rooted in the idea that leaders ought to stay true to their fundamental beliefs, values, and principles while exhibiting openness, honesty, and integrity in their interactions with others (George, 2004).

When balancing between organisational needs and individual subjectivities, authentic leaders should endeavour to harmonise the two (Walumbwa et al., 2008).  Leaders need to synchronise their values and beliefs with the objectives and requirements of the organisation to proficiently guide their teams (Avolio & Gardner, 2005).  Simultaneously, authentic leaders must recognise and address their strengths and weaknesses while remaining receptive to feedback and committed to personal growth (Eagly, 2005).

Authentic leadership necessitates a delicate equilibrium between catering to organisational needs and staying faithful to one's subjectivities (Luthans & Avolio, 2003).  Authentic leaders can effectively guide their teams by maintaining self-awareness, transparency, and authenticity while cultivating trust and preserving their integrity (Ilies et al., 2005).  In doing so, they create a positive and empowering environment that supports the organisation's individual and collective success (Gardner et al., 2011).


  • Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 315-338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.001
  • Eagly, A.H. (2005). Achieving relational authenticity in leadership: Does gender matter? The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 459-474. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.007
  • Gardner, W.L., Cogliser, C.C., Davis, K.M., & Dickens, M.P. (2011). Authentic leadership: A review of the literature and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(6), 1120-1145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.09.007
  • George, B. (2004). Leadership is authenticity, not style. In Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value (Chapter 1, pp. 11-25).
  • Ilies, R., Morgeson, F.P., & Nahrgang, J.D. (2005). Authentic leadership and eudaemonic well-being: Understanding leader-follower outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 373-394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.002
  • Luthans, F., & Avolio, B.J. (2003). Authentic leadership development. In K.S. Cameron, J.E. Dutton, & R.E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive Organisational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline (Chapter 16, pp. 371-396). Berrett-Koehler.
  • Walumbwa, F.O., Avolio, B.J., Gardner, W.L., Wernsing, T.S., & Peterson, S.J. (2008). Authentic leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure. Journal of Management, 34(1), 89-126. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206307308913
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