Anil Swarup, a vocal proponent of Ethical Leadership, made a strong case for the fusion of ethics and leadership at a virtual training program presented by Saamarthya Teachers Training Academy of Research (STTAR), Ghaziabad, in collaboration with Jaipuria School of Business, on Wednesday, November 18.
Swarup is a former Secretary of School Education & Literacy (Government of India) who has spent 38 years in public life as a civil servant and lauded change-maker. Throughout the two-hour long webinar, he cited instances from his illustrious career and quotes from his book Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant to stress the importance of decisive ethical leadership to make a change for the better.
From the get go, Swarup laid out clearly the fundamentals of Ethical Leadership. The true traits of a leader, according to Swarup, are: self-belief, passion, self-motivation, commitment, ethical conduct, positivity, optimism, pursuit of excellence, self-discipline, honesty and efficiency. A leader leads by example, keenly evaluates and allocates time and resources, involves the stakeholders, gives respect and earns it likewise, protects his/her peers, and smartly delegates and facilitates the tasks.
But all this only fills the glass half for the eloquent optimist that Swarup is.
The other half comes in from Ethics.
Swarup defines ethics as “a set of principles that guide human actions in a way acceptable to society.”
But he makes it clear that “Ethics cannot be taught. One can imbibe them and emulate them. An ethical action is mandated by nature and approved by society as right and appropriate.” Several factors go on to influence ethics: an individual’s personality, family, peer group, episodic events, situations and professional code. Moreover, ethical behaviour can manifest itself at different levels. It can be individual, organizational or societal.
At the foundation of ethics, said Swarup, are the all-important values of integrity, impartiality, tolerance, and compassion towards weaker sections.
Having fused the ideas of leadership and ethics together, Swarup talked about the professional dilemmas that businessmen, entrepreneurs, civil servants and educators face in public and private institutions.
The panel of the training program included honourable staff members of Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions and other reputed organizations, who asked questions related to the education sector.
Swarup answered them with his characteristic frankness and kept returning to what he called was the key point of ethical leadership.
“There are no perfect rights or wrongs. What matters the most is that there should be no disconnect between what you think and what you do,” Swarup said.