Trust in Government is so important. The public is willing to delegate authority and sacrifice some freedoms in exchange for an orderly and civilized society, but only if it believes that government is acting in the public’s best interest.
Government ethics refer to the unique set of duties that public officials owe to the public that they serve. These duties arise upon entering the public work force either as an elected representative, an appointed official, or a member of government staff. Public ethical obligations exist in addition to general ethical obligations and sometimes government ethics may conflict with personal ethical duties.
Elected and public officials are entrusted with protecting and maintaining the public trust. As such they have a duty to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
At all times, officials need to be mindful that the public is not privy to all the facts, can’t know what is in the official’s mind and may perceive conduct as not being in the public’s best interest. While some actions may have a legal basis, public officials need to consider what is ethical. Conduct that doesn’t violate law may still be seen as unethical if it creates the perception of wrongdoing that will harm the public trust.
Laws can’t cover every ethical dilemma and elected officials sometimes make decisions believing they can be impartial in spite of what might appear to be a conflict of interest.
As an example, the use of private e-mail for public business has been on the rise locally, nationally and globally. The law has yet to give an answer on this issue. Legally, it might be acceptable right now to keep correspondence on your private e-mail account private. However, if you recognize that you have a fiduciary duty of accountability and transparency regarding public business, you may conclude that it is unethical to withhold those private emails about public business from someone making a public record request. To do otherwise may give rise to the public perception that you have something to hide. This is an area where your ethics rather than the ethics laws guide your actions.
As an elected and/or public official what are your obligations in the government context? Simply put it’s to exercise a duty of care; loyalty; impartiality; accountability; and to preserve the public’s trust in government.
Are you struggling with conflicts of interest on your Council? Would governance and professional ethics training help you? Do you simply want to learn more about your role as an elected official?
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help.
You may have read that title and thought do they really? Who are you kidding? The reality is there's a leadership shortage and 66% of organizations say they’re weak in developing leaders. It’s true they are and nearly 85% of Executives aren’t confident in their leadership pipelines. (Deloitte University Press, Leaders at all Levels, 2014) However the ones who are succeeding are putting their people first.
A leadership shortage is one of the biggest barriers to growth at companies around the world. I’m sure you’re familiar with terms such as Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials. It seems Millennials get a bad rap as being labelled “the entitled generation”. However, as the workforce ages and the rate of older leaders retiring accelerates, Millennials will be assuming leadership roles. Millennials are no longer the leaders of tomorrow, they are rapidly becoming the leaders of today.
Employees describe opportunities to develop their own leadership skills as the number one reason for staying with an organization, however many organizations are not preparing Millennials for management positions.
Throughout my career, it frustrated me to watch younger people being held back simply because others felt they were “too young for such a prominent role” or “they have to wait for their time to come” within the corporation. This is negative thinking that stunts employee growth and encourages otherwise engaged employees to leave organizations. If you’ve caught yourself in that same trap, you wouldn’t be alone. Please take some time to reflect on how valuable you are in helping others succeed.
As a leader, investing in your talent matters. Leadership development programs are critical to sustainable organizational growth and success. So why are organizations not taking this seriously? Simply put, most organizations lack a sense of urgency and hold a general belief that the organizations current leadership capacity and subsequent performance is good enough. The reality is, not developing leaders is costing you money. A lack of leadership reduces profit and productivity.
In the US alone, disengaged employees cost the economy up to $550 billion a year due to lost productivity. Of that, on average $86 billion annually in losses results from disengaged leadership. (Gallup, State of the American Workplace)
How do we start to fix this? First, it’s important to create an organization that develops quality talent from within. This is the “golden handcuff” for retaining engaged employees and staying competitive. Employees who don’t believe they can achieve their career goals with your organization will leave.
Millennials matter. Use leadership training to develop quality, confident millennial leaders. Fast tracked career progression is their top desire from a workplace and this differentiates them from prior generations.
Successful leadership development starts with you. A learning culture, one that identifies and promotes employees from within is critical to long-term stability. Start developing a healthy pool of engaged employees and provide training that actively develops their talent.
Need help getting there? Let’s chat about what your leadership development program could look like because investing in talent matters!
Have you ever been referred to as a community leader and thought no I’m not? I haven’t done enough in my career or community to be viewed with such esteem. Have you caught yourself saying “thanks for the compliment but I’m not a community leader”?
There have been times in my career where I’ve felt the same way. Community leadership or even leadership in general was always something I associated with prominent people in the community. This could have been a lack of confidence on my part or simply it seemed to be who was always recognized; those whose name was more known in the community or who received some sort of award or media attention for their contribution.
The actions of community leadership are usually not as dramatic as described above, and they usually don't inspire a chorus of recognition, but they are very worthwhile. Community leaders are often self-appointed leaders who take responsibility for the well-being and improvement of their communities or organization. Are you a leader? Are you interested in becoming one? Are you someone who:
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are most likely a community leader already, or on your way to becoming one. You don't have to run for office or be given a title to be a leader. All you need to do is decide to take responsibility for some aspect of your community or organization.
Leadership can be good for you. In fact, many people enjoy leading. You don't have to lead out of obligation. You can choose to lead and participate in ways that energize you and help you grow. You can choose to work on issues that you care about. You can take on challenges that are fun, rewarding, or interesting. It's really up to you.
You don’t have to be a natural born leader to lead either. People learn how to lead. Even the people who seem to do it naturally had to learn the skills of leadership. They might have learned by watching their parents, or teachers. They might have been given a lot of responsibility when they were young and might have been expected to take charge. Everyone has to start somewhere. You can become a leader by:
Dream Big! Day dreaming is a part of being a leader. In fact, day dreaming is one of the first things you need to do as a leader. It’s necessary to dream big for yourself and for what you want to accomplish. Take time to think. Create your own personal vision statement. Put your dream into words that communicate to others a picture of what you want to do or be. Organizations have vision statements; and as leaders you can have your own vision statement too.
You have to make a decision to lead and view yourself as a leader whether in your community or organization. No one else can contribute what you can. You have a point of view that no one else has. You have a set of skills that is unique to you.
Remember, all leaders need support from others to help them keep growing and get through the fears and discouragement they may encounter along the way. At times leaders can feel isolated in their jobs; they need others to listen to their thinking, and they need to listen to others' ideas. That’s ok. It’s normal and doesn’t make you weak!
I encourage you to develop relationships with people that you can share your leadership successes and discouragements with. This should be a person you trust to be straight with you. Being a leader requires thick skin and being able to handle feedback and sometimes criticism is a strengthening quality. Find someone who’s not afraid to hurt your feelings and holds you accountable to the goals you’ve made for yourself. By doing this you will grow into the fearless leader you want to be.
I know you can do it, become a leader worth following!