Posted by Jonas: Leaders will always have supporters and critics.  It is nearly impossible to be everything to everyone.  While leaders have to weigh heavy

Posted by Jonas:

Leaders will always have supporters and critics.  It is nearly impossible to be everything to everyone.  While leaders have to weigh heavy decisions, often with no clear answer, some are more ethical than others in moving forward.  

     A leader that is notably seen as ethical is Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Cook took over after the passing of Steve Jobs and has had the added challenge of following a beloved figure.  Cook leads by his own moral compass, always striving to do the right thing.  Cook has championed diversity and inclusion initiatives at Apple that have run through the culture of all things Apple as well as being reflected in their products.  Apple is at the forefront of environmental stewardship with eco-friendly packaging and sustainability initiatives.  Cook has also been a strong advocate and protector of privacy initiatives and protecting user information.

     On the opposite end of the spectrum is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Some of Zuckerberg’s earliest exploits took place before he even started Facebook when he allegedly stole the idea from a classmate.  Since Facebook has come to dominate daily life, Zuckerberg has been at the helm pushing the limits of what is acceptable and in some cases legal.  Sometimes his approach to business is that as long as it isn’t explicitly illegal then the ethics don’t matter.  Facebook has been accused of data mining and censoring certain voices for profit while growing the platform.  Facebook played a large role in the spreading of misinformation during the past two elections.  Zuckerberg has also been accused of using user login details to read personal emails of his rivals.  Facebook has seized upon the addictive nature of social media users and exploits that for profit.  Recently Zuckerberg was called before congress to answer for the harm social media is imparting on society and even though his company represents everything wrong with social media, he took no personal responsibility.  

     In order to get past behaviorism in ethics training, leaders need to go deeper and answer to employees why something is or is not ethical.  Most employees know what the “book answer” is in an ethical scenario but when faced with something outside the box, they may not make the right choice.  Ethics training needs to get beyond being a once a year, check the box type of training.  Employees need more hands-on, scenario based training so that they can be always adding to their tool box.  When employees are trained to look at every situation through the lens of ethics, they will build a base of experience and be able to apply that to real world situations.

Prabhakaran, S. (2023). 
Tim Cook’s Leadership Qualities: A Blueprint for Success. Routine.Co. 


 

Thompson, J. (2023). 
Broken Pedestals: The Dark Sides of 7 Popular CEOs. Business.com. 


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