Personal leadership development

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Ethical leadership has emerged as a core business concept in today’s business. Most organizations that are successful in the market often exhibit ethical leadership. As an individual developing a development plan is the first step to becoming an ethical leader. The context of my personal development plan is the workplace where I would want to become a successful ethical leader. This will only be possible if I focus on the areas that I have control over. Covey call these areas the circle of influence. By focusing on the circle of influence I would find it easy to develop into an ethical leader. My ethical type of leadership is based on virtue ethics which deals with human values while my second ethical type is based on utilitarianism. The four paradigms proposed by Kidder can be essential in developing my ethical leadership skills. My desire at the end of the development plan is to become a transformational leader. This will be achievable through developing a vision, strategy, goals and action plans to achieving that particular goals. Based on these strategies, I would be able to fully develop my leadership skills. 


Ethical leadership background

Today’s world is characterized by an increased cultural diversity as people from different religions, backgrounds and cultures interact in their day to day endeavors. As such, it is important for people to develop ethical leadership characteristics and skills. Ethical leadership encompasses developing good character. It includes having and following the right virtues and exhibiting strong character (Brown & Treviño, 2006). As leader, these qualities will be essential in setting a good example to other people. Despite the importance of good characters and right virtues, the concept of ethical leadership is very complex and its stakes are very high. Ethical leadership not only looks at the character of the leader but puts the leader in the context of other employees and looks at the skill portrayed by that leader. Ethical leaders often embody the overall purpose, vision as well as values of the various places they lead (Johnson, 2013). Ethical leadership is all about thriving to create a conducive environment in which every person is accommodated and included in the overall processes. As an ethical leader, one needs to be accommodative and open to the opinions, ideas and beliefs of other people. 

Context of leadership development

I would like to develop as an ethical leader in an organization I work. The organization is structured in such a way that there is delegation of duties to different managers, supervisors and other employees with equivalent qualifications and experience. Based on my qualifications, I would soon become a leader in one of the departments. This is possible because most of the leaders in these departments are approaching their retirement ages. This leaves a gap that will probably be filled through a promotion to the most qualified person. As such, it is critical to develop ethical leadership skills and characters that would be critical in working in this department (Brown, Treviño, & Harrison, 2005). The organization is characterized by high cultural diversity. As such it is paramount to develop ethical leadership skills. This will be based on Covey’s circle of influence

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Covey’s circle of influence

According to Covey’s circle of influence, it is much easier and energy efficient tom focus on the circle of influence rather than the circle of concern (Covey, 1992). The circle of influence depicts those things we have control over. In my cases, I would not be in a position to control a company merger. However, I can control how the employees under my watch would be working. As a future departmental leader, my circle of influence would include issues such as employees’ performance, productivity, satisfaction and how the employees meet the set goals and objectives of the organization. A successful ethical leadership plan should have an ethical leadership profile that highlights the possible constraints, obstacles, theories supporting the type of leadership development and the desired leadership styles that could be compared with the current leadership. 

Four-prong ethical leadership profile


The organization basically comprises of people from different backgrounds with varying beliefs, values and customers. The increased cultural diversity nature of the organization means that all leaders need to develop ethical leadership skill for them to successfully carry out their duties and responsibilities (Mayer, Aquino, Greenbaum & Kuenzi, 2012). In most cases, people work in teams that are characterized with a high diversity. 

Personal and employee behaviors are critical to the development of ethical leadership in the organization. I believe effective ethical leadership is built on trust and respect among different people who are working together. I am a trustworthy person who believes in ensuring strong and transparent relationships within the organizations. I belief in honoring commitment based on the principle of loyalty. Most of these attributes are critical to personal ethical development as a leader. The other employees also value transparency in addition to integrity, respect and trust. They want to be included in business strategic decisions and want to be recognized as part of the organization. The input of the employees is take seriously and the company management seeks to ensure that all the employees are not only satisfied but their needs and well taken care of. These are some of the issues that need to be considered when developing ethical leadership skills. Besides, various obstacles such as organizational policies that focus on business success rather than including the issues of ethics are a stumbling block to personal ethical leadership development. 

Primary and secondary ethical type

My primary ethical type is virtue ethics. Virtue ethics mainly emphasizes on the importance of a person’s with regards to ethical thinking and decision making rather than focusing on the rules as postulated by the Deontology perspective or consequences as proposed by consequentialism (Van Staveren, 2007). As a leader, I would want to focus on my individual values, believes and characters rather than the established rules

My secondary ethical type is utilitarianism. This basically is about trying to differentiate the right from wrong actions (Christians, 2007). The effects of an individual’s actions can always be right or wrong. As a leader, I would want to focus on those actions that morally right. The theory focuses on the consequences of an individual’s actions

Kidder’s ethical model is well aligned to virtue ethics which is my primary ethical type when it comes to ethical leadership. Kidder suggests that an individual’s decision making is driven by their core values, moral and integrity (Flynn & Wiltermuth, 2010). As such we always find ourselves in moral temptation or ethical decisions. The four paradigms proposed by Kiddler’s model for understanding ethical dilemmas are closely aligned to virtue ethics. Particularly the paradigm highlighting truth vs. loyalty. Both truth and loyalty are individual characters and values that can be molded. On the contrary, the 12 questions model by Nash focuses on the problem definition, action and consequences of the decision. The model is not clear on the role of ethical values in the decision-making process. However, the SAD formula is also very close to my primary ethical type because it not only identifies and analyses the situation, but also allows for ethical judgment that may be based on virtues. 

Current and desired leadership styles

Current leadership styles Desired Leadership styles
Autocratic leadership Transformational leadership

Autocratic leadership is often centered around the boss (Bhatti, Maitlo, Shaikh, Hashmi, & Shaikh, 2012). This is the kind of leadership where it is upon the leader to make all the decisions without consulting the other subordinates. Leaders make the decisions and communicated these decisions to the subordinates for implementation. The disadvantage of this type of leadership is the fact that it lacks any form of flexibility. Autocratic leadership is not only intuitive but easy to learn often not requiring any specialized training or knowledge of the leadership theories. As a leader, you are free from worrying about how other people feel. Autocratic leadership is ensuring it is easy to exercise control over things or operations in the workplace. In this type of leadership, there is total control and close oversight of all operations in the organization. However, it is limited to situations where employees need specific instructions. It is also cumbersome to the leaders as he/ she bears all the burden, decisions and actions. The leader-dependence nature of this type of leaders means that in leadership will become stagnant in the absence of the leader. 

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The desired leadership style is about initiating positive change in the organization. Transformational leadership is about motivating other people in the organization to take the critical steps towards change (Nielsen, Yarker, Brenner, Randall, & Borg, 2008). In this type of leadership, employees are often empowered. Transformational leaders are known to possess a high level of charisma, vision and the ability to inspire other employees towards a particular direction. With the presence of vision, transformational leaders make it easy to steer the organization into a particular direction. It is easier to ensure everyone is on board with the company vision. In terms of inspiring and motivating people to align operations to business goals and objectives, transformational leadership is very advantageous. However, the major challenge with transformational leadership is the fact that it sometimes struggles with detail orientation. Leaders often struggle with smaller details within the overall change or transformational process. The other challenge is the over reliance on enthusiasm which may force transformational leaders to overlook other issues such as truth and reality. 

Personal SWOT



Focus on quality


Quick learning



Time management

Limited experience

Weak personal characteristics


Advance in education

Expanding my network

Enhancing personal development

Learning to manager a larger team


Threat from senior team members

Competition from other employees

Limited leadership positons

Becoming successful in personal development involve working and focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses. It involves using the strengths to improve on the weaknesses. By focusing on the quality of what I do and ensuring there is always a higher level of commitment, I can ensure that I improve on time management. Being friendly and the ability to learn quickly are some of the strengths that can be used to improve persona characteristics. This is because they involve interaction with other people in the workplace. Thus, promoting interaction, collaboration and cooperation with other people. This will be essential in developing those personal characteristics critical to ethical leadership development from a personal point of view

Five stage strategy and implementation plan

Stage 1: Vision


To become an ethical leader who envisions a healthy, just and inclusive working environment where every person can be a part of social change

Stage 2: Goals

  1. Improve my personal leadership characteristics with regards to ethical leadership in 4 months
  2. Be able to manage a diverse team in 1 month
  3. Learn to pay attention and demonstrate to other employees that I value their ideas and opinions in 1 month
  4. Improve my ability to see things from a bigger picture and perspective in 1 year
  5. Shift my leadership style from always directing others to being accommodative to other people in 3 months

Stage 3: Strategies

To achieve the stated goals, it would be critical to develop several strategies that would be used for achieving these goals

Strategy 1

To improve my personal leadership characteristics, I would need to ensure my friends base includes people from all diverse backgrounds. One of my strengths is the ability to make friends easily and maintain these friendships. Personal characteristics and interpersonal skills can be easily build through close interaction with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. By interacting and making friends with many people, chances of 

Strategy 2

My strategy toward being able to manage diverse teams will be through recognition. I will recognize that people have differences, each that make people special. I will seek to celebrate these differences and encourage employees to show their individualities. This was it will be easy to work and manage a diverse team in the workplace. I would also encourage interaction as a step to achieve my second goal of being able to manage diversity

Strategy 3

Being attentive to other people ensure that you win their trust. My strategy is to listen before I speak. I will ensure that I carefully listen to the opinions and ideas proposed by other members of the organization. This will be supplemented by taking quick notes on anything said by the other members. As a quick learner, it would be easier to achieve this goals. Listening is one the communication skills I would want to develop in order to become an ethical leader

Strategy 4

My strategy to see things from bigger picture will be to focus and operate under the guidance of my vision. Every decision or action I take would be towards achieving my broader vision of becoming an ethical leader who also encourages social changes that are positive to the organization.

Strategy 5

Strategies to develop transformational leadership include the ability to develop and recognize change. I will work with other more experienced leaders in the organization to ensure that not only give me guidance but also act as role models. This strategy is based on collaboration with other transformational leaders in the organization. The idea is to create and enhance social transformation in my organization and make it more ethical. 

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Stage 4: Actions and Timelines 

Strategy Actions Timelines
Strategy 1
  • Increase number of friends in the workplace
  • Ensure the friends circle comprises people from different cultural backgrounds
  • Interact with diverse people from different qualifications, beliefs, values and cultures
4 months
Strategy 2
  • Always develop and implement ideas in a team that comprises of more than 5 people
  • Learn individual characteristics and things that distinguish every person in the team
  • Encourage the team to be cohesive, multicultural and collaborative in every activity done
1 month
Strategy 3
  • Listen carefully when other people are talking, giving ideas and opinions
  • Considering the opinions of other people and how to make those opinions better
  • Improve both verbal and non-verbal communication skills
1 month
Strategy 4
  • Seek additional advice from other people
  • Focus on the bigger perspective when making leadership and other critical decisions
  • Focusing on the bigger ethical leadership vision
12 months
Strategy 5
  • Develop changes in the organization
  •  Involve other people in the change process in the form of opinions or participation in the change
  • Collaborate with company management to ensure the implemented changed are aligned to organizational goals and objectives
3 months



Ethical leadership is a very critical skill all leaders in today’s business world need to develop. This starts by having the right attitude towards ethical leadership before developing a plan to achieve the developed leadership goals. As an ethical leader, you have to ensure that all your operations are ethical. Personally, I want to develop as an ethical leader in an organization. This not only involves seeking to uphold the principles of equality, justice and integrity but also ensuring that the welfare of other employees is taken into consideration. This personal leadership development plan has identified both my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. All these form the basis for developing a critical development framework that will be essential in my progress towards becoming an ethical leader. The various strategies, goals and action steps identified are all to ensure that the major objective of the development plan is achieved successfully. Personal development is all about leveraging on your core strengths. 


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  1. Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G. M., Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M. A., & Shaikh, F. M. (2012). The impact of autocratic and democratic leadership style on job satisfaction. International Business Research5(2), 192.
  2. Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational behavior and human decision processes97(2), 117-134.
  3. Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The leadership quarterly17(6), 595-616.
  4. Christians, C. G. (2007). Utilitarianism in media ethics and its discontents. Journal of Mass Media Ethics22(2-3), 113-131.
  5. Covey, S. R. (1992). Principle centered leadership. Simon and Schuster.
  6. Flynn, F. J., & Wiltermuth, S. S. (2010). Who’s with me? False consensus, brokerage, and ethical decision making in organizations. Academy of Management Journal53(5), 1074-1089.
  7. Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Sage Publications.
  8. Mayer, D. M., Aquino, K., Greenbaum, R. L., & Kuenzi, M. (2012). Who displays ethical leadership, and why does it matter? An examination of antecedents and consequences of ethical leadership. Academy of Management Journal55(1), 151-171.
  9. Nielsen, K., Yarker, J., Brenner, S. O., Randall, R., & Borg, V. (2008). The importance of transformational leadership style for the well‐being of employees working with older people. Journal of advanced nursing63(5), 465-475.
  10. Van Staveren, I. (2007). Beyond utilitarianism and deontology: Ethics in economics. Review of Political Economy19(1), 21-35.
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