Ethics-tools to assist individuals and groups to 'make right or good decisions'. Includes ethics-tools for workplace and businesses, team issues and assessment.

Donna Rae Scheffert

Donna Rae Scheffert, author, is a writer and organizational consultant. She retired as a Leadership Development Specialist from the University of Minnesota Extension in 2009. She spent over 20 years creating leadership information, tools and training. She is the owner of

How Does Ethics Relate to Leadership?

It is essential that leaders include an assessment of ethics - the qualities and impacts of their actions on others. Ethics-tools can help. “Persons with integrity are trusted with leadership, executing our collective values and goals and making decisions that affect us all. They exemplify human values despite enormous pressures toward expediency and self-interest. Such individuals who have achieved respected leadership positions are held up as examples for all to follow.
Marcia Mentkowski

What Are Characteristics of Ethical Leaders?

Ethics-Tool to Evaluate Leadership

Respect Others – treat others as ends in themselves and never a means to ends, listen closely, are tolerant of opposing points of view, make others feel competent, treat others as worthy human beings

Serve Others – place stakeholder’s and follower’s welfare foremost in their plans, mentor and empower others, practice stewardship, act in ways that benefit others and the greater good

Show Justice – treat people in an equal manner, demonstrate fairness, communicate rules and reasons for allocation of resources/rewards/ punishments, explain reasons for differential treatment of others

Are Honest – tell the truth, represent reality as fully and completely as possible, are sensitive to attitudes and feelings of others, are trustworthy, reward honest behavior in the organization

Build Community – influence others for a common goal that benefits leaders and followers, attend to the needs and demands of the community, build voluntary followership, advance the human condition

Northouse, P.G. (2001). Leadership: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Ethics-Tool Key Concepts

Ethics-Tool to Discern Issues in Workplace or Business

----Is leadership is concerned about “doing the right thing” - moving toward a beneficial end or do they do what they can 'get by with' without being caught?

---Does leadership assess why something should be done and who will benefit and who may not?

---Do leaders engage followers in a respectful, voluntary and community-enhancing relationship?

Check out this great online collection called the Ethics-Tool Kit

What are Ethics?

It is about living and acting in ways that are consistent with principles of good behavior.

It is about doing the “right” thing.

It is also about self-restraint; not doing something simply because you have the power to do so, not doing what you have the right to do if it is not the “right” thing to do,not doing what you want to do, even if it is within the legal limits.

It can also refer to the study and development of a person’s own standards. Although standards may be related to the beliefs of religions or faith traditions, it is not confined to particular religious beliefs, since it is much broader, including people from many religious or faith traditions, as well as people who do not practice a religion or faith tradition.

It is not the same as following the law. Legal systems can incorporate standards, but standards may go well beyond legal obligations.

It is not the same as following socially-accepted practices, since some social-accepted practices may actually violate ethical standards.

It refers to well-based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do.

Standards impose reasonable obligations to refrain from certain behaviors; for example, rape, murder, stealing, assault, slander and fraud.

Standards also encourage virtues; for example, honesty, caring, compassion, and loyalty.

Standards can relate to rights; the right to privacy, the right to life, the right to freedom from injury and other rights.

Ethical Audit for Organizations

Many organizations have completed an audit or survey of their organization. Below are some of the common areas where problems can be found.

Employee-Employer Relations

As you consider the items below, rank them from 1=very poor to 5=excellent. The items with the lower scores are areas where the organization should seek to improve.

Work ethic - paid staff giving a full days work for a full days pay. 1 2 3 4 5

Insensitive handling of assignment changes or reorganization. 1 2 3 4 5

Failure to give honest, fair and timely work appraisals. 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate training or supervision to insure employee success. 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate participation of staff in major policy decisions. 1 2 3 4 5

Unfair expectations or demands of staff. 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate compensation for lowest level employees compared to upper level employees. 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate recognition or appreciation of staff. 1 2 3 4 5

Employee Behaviors

Accountability - acknowledging own contributions to problems. 1 2 3 4 5

Teamwork - able to work with others with a positive spirit and willing to do so in practice. 1 2 3 4 5

Honesty is rewarded, not suppressed. 1 2 3 4 5

Those who innovate are given proper recognition. 1 2 3 4 5

Performance goals are clearly communicated and understood. 1 2 3 4 5

Establishment and maintenance of a productive work setting. 1 2 3 4 5

Employee-Employee Relations

Inappropriate blame-shifting or credit taking to advance a person. 1 2 3 4 5

Unhealthy competition among employees about "turf". 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate communication among departments. 1 2 3 4 5

Too much competition between departments. 1 2 3 4 5

Inadequate teamsmanship as individuals focus on narrow jobs. 1 2 3 4 5

Resource Recommendation

Check out these resources

Private and Public Interests-Working Agreements


Ethics-Tools, Diversity, and Power

Leadership Tools

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Donna Rae Scheffert

809 Mayflower Ct.

Northfield, MN 55057

Let me assist you and your organization. Call me at 612.360.4484