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Leadership and Ethics


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Title: Leadership and Ethics

Leadership and Ethics
  • Introduction to Moral Reasoning
  • We havent taught you any real answers, we
    have only taught the skills you need better to
    seek your own answers.
  • - Admiral James D. Watkins

Leadership and Ethics
  • Father of our Navy said a leader should be...
  • the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness,
    and charity.
  • No meritorious act of a subordinate should
    escape his attention or be left to pass without
    its reward, even if the reward is only a word of

Leadership and Ethics
  • He should not be blind to a single fault in any
    subordinate, though, at the same time, he should
    be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from
    malice, thoughtlessness from incompetence, and
    well-meant shortcoming from incompetency, and
    well-meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid
  • Father of our Navy John Paul Jones

Leadership and Ethics Moral means what is
  • You cannot live in two different worlds, but
    rather must meet the same standards in both your
    personal and your professional life, for without
    a high sense of moral responsibility you may have
    achieved by your personal example in other
  • Admiral de Cazanove

Leadership and Ethics
  • Power can be delegated but responsibility
  • Admiral Nakamura
  • An officer must consistently do the right thing,
    even if this is not always easy.
  • Moral responsibility and ethics can be viewed as
    a pyramid.
  • Admiral de Cazanove

Leadership and Ethics Legal Moral Ethics
  • What separates the moral person from the rest is
    that the moral person makes those decisions based
    on his or her conscience.
  • Admiral Watkins
  • People may not agree on what is precisely meant
    by good and evil
  • Laws are made to guide us

Leadership and Ethics Legal Moral Ethics
  • We cannot live our lives as naval officers and be
    pacifists in the strict definition of the word.
  • Pope Paul the sixth
  • As long as man remains the weak, changeable and
    even wicked being he often show himself to be,
    defensive armaments will, alas, be necessary.

Leadership and Ethics Legal Moral Ethics
  • Roman Catholic Vatican II Council observed
  • All those who enter the military service in
    loyalty to their country should look upon
    themselves as custodians of the security and
    freedom of their fellow countrymen and when they
    carry out their duty properly, they are
    contributing to the maintenance of peace.

Leadership and Ethics The Ring of Gyges
  • Do you think that all people would act in the
    same way if given the ring?

Leadership and Ethics The Ring of Gyges
  • Why be Moral at all?
  • If we can lie and steal with impunity then why be
  • If our deeds sometimes go unrewarded or even
    unrecognized, then why be moral?

Ethics Defined
  • A system of moral principles
  • Rules or norms of conduct for a particular group
  • The branch of philosophy dealing with values
    relating to the rightness and wrongness of
    certain actions and to the goodness and badness
    of the motives and ends of such actions

Why is Ethics so hard?
  • Choices not always clear
  • Time pressures
  • Limited knowledge
  • Intellect vs. will

We study Moral Reasoning because ethics is so
  • MR gives us a cognitive framework to analyze
    situations and make (relatively) sound decisions

Leadership and Ethics A Leader is
  • A person that leads
  • A person who directs a military force
  • A person who has commanding authority or

Leadership and Ethics Moral Reasoning
  • Every human being engages in moral reasoning.
  • Consequences for actions
  • Self, others
  • Short term, long term
  • Basis of felt obligations
  • Promises
  • Oaths
  • Everyday morality is not systematic
  • What do we value?
  • Why do we value it?

Leadership and Ethics Moral Theories
  • attempt to more fully articulate our everyday
    moral thinking.
  • are somewhat abstract
  • evaluate our current moral beliefs
  • and consistency within our beliefs
  • Provide guidance for complex issues, complex
    decisions, conflicts

Leadership and Ethics Moral Philosophers
  • Traditionally they have three main categories
  • Agents (persons) What makes a person
    vicious or virtuous?
  • Actions Which actions are right, which
  • Consequences which consequences are good,
    which bad?

A Framework for Ethical Decision-making
Leadership and Ethics
  • Frame work for Ethical Decision-Making
  • 1. Identify the problem.

2. Specify feasible alternatives.
3. Identify morally significant factors in each
alternative (use your ethical resources).
4. Propose and test possible resolutions.
5. Make your choice.
Leadership and Ethics
  • Frame work for Ethical Decision-Making
  • 1. Identify the problem.
  • Be alert be sensitive to morally charged
  • Gather information and don't jump to conclusions.
  • State the case briefly with as many of the
    relevant facts and circumstances as you can
    gather with the decision time available.

Leadership and Ethics
  • 2. Specify feasible alternatives.
  • State the live options at each stage of
    decision-making for each decision-maker.
  • You then should ask what are the likely
    consequences of various decisions.
  • You should remember to take into account good or
    bad consequences not just for yourself, your
    platoon or division, but for all affected

Leadership and Ethics
  • 3. Identify morally significant factors in each
    alternative (Use your ethical resources).
  • Principles
  • Respect for autonomy
  • Dont harm
  • Do good
  • Be fair
  • Moral models
  • Use ethically informed sources
  • Context
  • Personal judgments

Leadership and Ethics
  • 4. Propose and test possible resolutions.
  • Perform a sensitivity analysis.
  • Impact on others ethical performance?
  • Would a good person do this?
  • What if everyone in these circumstances did
  • Does it seem right? Are you still satisfied with
    your choice?

Leadership and Ethics
  • 5. Make your choice.
  • Live with it
  • Learn from it. This means accepting
    responsibility for your choice. It also means
    accepting the possibility that you might be wrong
    or that you will make a less than optimal
    decision. The object is to make a good choice
    with the information available, not to make a
    perfect choice. Learn from your failures and

Class Discussion
Leadership and Ethics Personal Ethos
  • 1. What are our own deepest moral values?
  • 1a. What qualities do you look for in others
  • people as well as in yourself?
  • 1b. Are these values you think everyone shares,
    or are some of your values ones that you feel are
    not always observed by our culture as a whole?
  • 1c. How have your values changed, if at all?
  • 1d. What influenced their development?

Leadership and Ethics Group Ethos
  • 2a. Why do you think people are moral ?
  • 2b. Is it because they fear punishment or
  • 2c. Is it because they believe that they should
    always do the right thing just because it is the
    right thing?
  • 2d. Is it because they believe they are
    following higher orders?

Leadership and Ethics Ethical Issues
  • 3a. What is the moral issue that you are most
    undecided about?
  • 3b. Describe the pros and cons in regard to this
  • 3c. How do you go about arriving a decision when
    it is unavoidable?

Leadership and Ethics Ethical Problems
  • 4a. Is telling the truth more important than
    avoiding harm to others?
  • 4b. Why or why not?

Leadership and Ethics Ethical Problems
  • 5a. Suppose you cold save one thousand people
    from certain death by killing a single innocent
  • 5b. Would that be permissible?
  • 5c. Why or why not?

Leadership and Ethics Ethical Problems
  • 6a. Imagine that 5 of our shipmates are ill and
    you own all of the drugs they need to be well.
    Are you obliged to give them the medicine?
  • 6b. What if you only had enough to cure two of
  • 6c. How would you decide what to do?

Michael Ignateiff at USNA
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