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Ethical leadership is the kind of leadership that is inspired by respect for ethical values and beliefs, and for the right and dignity of others. The concepts of ethical leadership include honesty, trust, charisma, consideration and fairness. Thomas Spencer Monson, the 16th and current president of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Church is regarded as one of individuals that have exhibited ethical leadership. At the age of 22, in 1950, he became an LDS bishop, having previously served as a ward clerk. At 36 years of age, Monson was ordained as an apostle in the LDS Church. He served with charisma as an apostle for decades until March 12th, 1995 when he became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a position he held until February 3rd, 2008 when he succeeded Gordon Bitner Hinckley to become the church’s president. Aged 88, He holds the position to date.
As an ethical leader, Monson has been consistently compassionate towards the vulnerable in the society, such as the widows. He has also participated in a lot of volunteer, both in civic and community affairs. He also understands the role politics plays in shaping the society, and has at different points made positive contribution to the political affairs of the United States.
Monson the Ethical Leader
The selection of Monson is not debatable in any way, considering the role he has played from a very young age in leading a church that has now grown to have over 74000 missionaries and a following of around 15 million around the world. He served with distinction in all the leadership positions that he held, both in community and in church. He was consistently ethical. To start with, Monson is compassionate towards the less fortunate in the society, especially tens of widows in his ward. He visited them regularly, and even after he stopped serving as the ward clerk, he continued visiting them. Every Christmas season, he would buy them gifts which included poultry that he had himself raised. Widows are some of the members of the society that need to be supported and shown love by people around them, but not everyone does it, unfortunately.
One would have imagined that Monson would stop visiting the 85 widows in his ward when he stopped serving as the ward clerk. He continued being supporting towards them, and attended the funeral of any of them who died. He was considerate and fair enough to the widows, and was inspired by the understanding that the widows still needed his support, care and love even after stopping to serve as the ward clerk.
Monson has dedicated the most of his life to volunteer work at different levels. He has over the years been active in community and civic affairs. He has served with dedication and charisma in many different boards, some of them not LDS-related. He has held various leadership positions in several scouting organizations. In all of those organizations, he inspired everyone, including leaders for the betterment and progression of those outfits. His charisma and exemplary leadership qualities ensured that he was sought after to volunteer leadership in several organizations, and, needless to say, he left a mark everywhere he served.
Monson also understands that politics plays an important role in shaping the community, and has at different points participated in the political activities in the United States, most notably in California when he rallied the local congregation to support Proposition 8 by donating resources and time. He is also listed as a Republican voter in Utah. Monson is therefore an all-round leader who values the growth of the society not only spiritually, but in many other vital aspects as well.
I am deeply inspired by Monson’s ethical leadership. From his style of leadership, I realize that a mix of charisma, dedication and compassion yields great results for a leader. A leader who conducts himself or herself in the manner that Monson did when he was actively involved in various leadership roles finds it easy to deal with the dynamics of the society. Ethical leadership makes a leader acceptable and admirable to many, and this is why Monson inspired many people and organizations, and that led to high demand of his leadership services in many different organizations, some of them not related in any way to Latter-Day Saints. As an ethical leader, I would strive to volunteer in every way I can. Like Monson, I would want to feel compelled and inspired to serve in the society in a way that pumps life into elements of the society that touch on human life either directly or indirectly.
Having been inspired by Monson’s ethical leadership, I would show compassion and love towards the less fortunate in the society. Some of the less fortunate groups in the society include the poor, orphans and widows among others. Monson supported and showed love to 85 widows hailing from his ward when he served as the ward, and also after he stopped serving as a ward clerk. From this action, I learn that there are people who only want to be shown love and they will be happy and positive towards life. I would not peg my support for the less fortunate on if I served in a given leadership position. Just like Monson, I would understand that the less fortunate groups that I support while serving in a particular leadership position would still need me to support them even after I stop holding the leadership position.
Ethical leadership is arguably the only kind of leadership that has the most profound positive impact on the society. It inspires both the leader and the people he leads, and gets the best out of everyone associated with it. Ethical leadership is an important tool used to spur growth and development in organizations as well as in the society. People should therefore strive to be ethical leaders like Monson if they are to make people around them comfortable and ready to be changed for the better. Volunteer is one of the things that an ethical leader must contemplate; it is not ethical to look to profit from holding leadership positions at all times.
- Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The leadership quarterly, 17(6), 595-616.
- Heidi S. (2010). To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, p. 156.