Ethical Leadership – are you humble enough for it?

An abridged version of this article was originally published in Hilborn Charity eNEWs. Transactional Leadership, Autocratic Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Situational Leadership… The list could go on. There are probably as many leadership styles as there are leaders. I believe our sector would benefit greatly if we all intentionally pursued the concept of Ethical Leadership. Introducing Mpumi Nobiva! A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Mpumi Nobiva at a conference. Nobiva is an AIDS orphan who was living in South Africa. Nobiva lived in extreme poverty and was smart enough, and lucky enough, to get into Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for girls – she excelled. Nobiva realized her dream to go to University in the United States and now she is a force for good and truth. When Nobiva came on stage and humbly asked if her outfit met expectations I was charmed. Her strong and powerful presence combined with grace and humility is enviable. When she passionately said: “Oprah Winfrey didn’t change my life. It was my mother and my grandmother who made sure I was who I was for the day that Oprah walked into my life.” I was moved to tears. So far I was very entertained but wasn’t expecting much beyond that. It was when this 25 year old dynamo started talking about Ethical Leadership I leaned forward and pulled out my notebook. Woah! I had never heard leadership described as ethical. What does that mean? How can I get some? Am I an ethical leader? Nobiva described Ethical Leadership as doing the right thing even if it goes unnoticed. The concept reminded me of a book I had read last year by Adam Grant called Give and Take. In Give and Take Grant talks about drivers for success and three specific professional profiles: Matchers, Takers and Givers. The book is full of case studies from the corporate world. Matchers will do something for you if you do something for them. Takers….well… they take and leave you in the dust. Giver’s lift everyone around them up. Guess which profile ended up with the most lucrative and satisfying career? While the concept of ethical leadership is not mentioned in the book I believe it is the Giver’s as defined by Grant that definitely fit Nobiva’s description of Ethical Leaders. Fast forward to twenty-four hours ago when Amazon finally delivered James Comey’s autobiography A Higher Loyalty to my doorstep. I bought the book after I saw Comey interviewed on The Late Show. It was a good interview. Entertaining again. I thought it was interesting that the FBI Director who had been fired by the current US Present, wrote a book. Like many, I...

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