Fair Leadership is Good Business

The Guardian reported earlier this week on a new study showing a strong connection between whether employees perceive their leaders as fair and those leaders’ ability to effect positive change in their organizations.


Fairness impacts all dimensions of what the researchers define as transformational leadership: namely, “idealized influence” (setting ethical standards for other to follow), “inspirational motivation” (participating in shared goals in an ethical manner), “intellectual stimulation” (allowing others to be involved in decision making), and “individualized consideration” (taking into account employees’ individual needs and skills). “An effective and good leader needs also to be fair with his employees in order to retain them and motivate them to accomplish the work,” the paper concludes.


One of our guiding lights here at EthSys is the idea that good ethics makes for good business. People will extend trust to an organization that treats its employees and customers fairly, and that trust becomes the foundation for prosperity and growth. Conversely, a reputation for unfairness can be poisonous for a business, making it more difficult to manage internally and less appealing to the market externally. Strong leaders must therefore not only develop fair procedures but cultivate an ethos of fairness in interactions at all levels of the company.

For more information and relevant research on this subject, please see our page on fairness.