Reflection Paper


Just read the article, and write 2 pages of the reflection paper.


Reflection Paper

In “Misconceptions of Ethical Leadership: How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls”. Michael Brown discusses five aspects of ethical leadership that are normally misconceived. After reading each aspect, I thought deeply about the inaccurate views I may have embraced in regards to leadership and ethics. One of them is the tendency to blame individuals for their downfall by focusing too much on their personal weaknesses at the expense of external factors. The ideas contained in the article have also opened my mind to the issues that corporate leaders usually face after the spotlight shines on them following a downfall.


Firstly, Brown talks about the misguided notion that ethical leaders should never care about what people think of them. In his view, such leaders can easily become self-centered. To avoid the catastrophe that this misconception may cause, they should endeavor to seek other people’s views regarding their leadership skills, behavior, and competences. These efforts can lead to an in-depth understanding of the various factors that may lead to one’s downfall as a leader.

Moreover, I noted that the author has also addressed the issue of employees’ ethical expectations. It is true that some leaders make assumptions regarding employees’ awareness of the kind of ethical behavior that is expected of them. On the contrary, they need guidance regarding ethical expectations. Under such circumstances, it would be wrong to blame a leader for his/her employees’ wrongdoing. Meanwhile, a crucial observation to be made at this point is that ethics is not a one-day event, but rather, a continuous process that needs constant evaluation. Leaders who succeed in this role are highly likely to succeed in efforts to foster positive ethical expectations.

Additionally, it is noteworthy that Brown has pointed out the need for leaders to avoid the misconceived view that they should focus on laws instead of ethical practices. I share the author’s view that to be an ethical leader, one ought to get rid of this misconception because cynicism is a major obstacle to effective leadership while sincerity fosters it. Similarly, leaders must go beyond what the law says by pursuing ethical behavior in order to reduce the chances of being blamed for their organizations’ downfall.


Besides, the article provides excellent guidelines on the relationship between ethics and effectiveness. I support his view that contrary to popular belief, these two variables are not mutually exclusive. A leader can be ethical and effective at the same time. However, this realization may not stop people from attributing his/her downfall to his personality instead of external factors. At the same time, leaders may be rightfully blamed for failing to address ethical contradictions affecting organizational effectiveness. In such situations, I think it pays to be patient enough for the positive effects of their ethical practices to be manifested through effectiveness in all organizational operations.

Lastly, I have observed how the author has talked about the tendency of some leaders to downplay the relevance of their personal lives to their workplace. On the contrary, one’s personal life always acts as a major precedent of leadership effectiveness. However, this does not mean that a leader should be blamed for failing to sort out his/her personal issues amicably to the point where the latter becomes a hindrance to leadership effectiveness. At the same time, individuals who are consistent in both their workplace practices and personal lives are likely to become more effective advocates of ethical leadership than their counterparts whose personal lives are in disarray.

Having read Brown’s article, I now understand that I, too, can be a victim of misconceptions of ethical leadership. For instance, I did not realize that blaming others for their downfall is not only unethical but also a threat to one’s legitimacy as a leader. Most importantly, every leader should set and spell out positive ethical expectations for all employees. Accordingly, the article’s overall view regarding ethical leadership is that the latter should always be based on fairness, trust, and honest feedback.

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