It seems like a fairly obvious statement and yet it is all too often forgotten.
If you are the CEO of a large public company you have legal and ethical responsibilities … which is why we see CEOs fired for behaviours not consistent with their role, and even CEOs jailed (think Tyco and Worldcom etc) for failing in their legal duties.
If you are a manager or executive you are expected to be a good example to your staff, to demonstrate good behaviours not just expect your staff to “do as you say”.
The other thing about position though is that it can corrupt. Some people become “entitled”, they are above the rules … an extreme example of this would be all of the Catholic priests who abused their positions of power.
It is the kind of thing you see as you make your way up the corporate ladder … the managers who take advantage of their staff and the executives who revel in the perks. The owner/managers who expect their staff to work long hours but are not prepared to do it themselves etc.
So … as you assume positions of power there are a few things you might want to think about:
1. One of the many ways in which our world is changing is in the area of transparency … it is really difficult to “get away” with poor behaviour.
2. The higher up the chain you go … the higher the expectations, be careful what you wish for!
3. You will reap the rewards of your behaviour… good and/or bad!
4. You set the example for those who work for you … do not expect your people to work hard when you goof off at Noon on Friday! (Remember EVERYBODY KNOWS).
5. Develop a strong ethical compass… and don’t let the temptations of power take you off course.
Good leaders set the right example … if you really want that next position, be ready to go to the next level of ethical standards too!