Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 11, 2012

The Ethical Leader


When it comes to ethics, everyone seems to have their own definition of what is ethical and what is not. What is completely ethical to one person may be completely wrong to another person. What is your ethical evaluation criteria? How do you determine if your behavior is ethical or not?

It is very important to set your own ethical criteria so you know how you will behave in a given situation. In the moment you have to make an ethical decision you may not have the opportunity to think about how to respond. As a leader, you should set an ethical standard within your organization so you and your employees know how to behave. In addition, a code of ethics that is available to your customers will increase confidence in your work. One example of a code of ethics is the code of ethics of the American Society of Civil Engineers which states:

  1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.
  2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence.
  3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
  4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
  5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their service and shall not compete unfairly with others.
  6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession.
  7. Engineers shall continue their profession development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.

The civil engineering code of ethics helps engineers decide how they will act as they do their work. It helps them know how to respond to different situations as they arise. At the same time, the code develops trust in engineering customers. If companies create their own set of ethics, it will have the same effect employees, leaders, and customers.

Do you have an ethics code at your organization? What impact does it have? Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!



  1. In a world of standards that continue to drop, it is nice to see someone who still sees the importance of ethics. It’s not just the laws that set our ethical standard, it’s our morals and values that are set higher than the law. Great post!

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