Ethics are a very commonly discussed topic in today’s society, especially when it comes to politics. But, in general ethics are something that everyone should be aware of and should be followed. I am going to discuss the five principles of ethical leadership in relation to the very recent scandal of the two Hollywood moms paying obscene amounts of money for their children to get into top schools, and why what they did was wrong.
The first principle is ethical leaders respect others, this means treating followers as their own individual (Northouse, 2016). A leader should allow the followers to be themselves and should be able to integrate the follower’s needs/values into the needs/values of the leader (Northouse, 2016). Children (followers) need to be able to apply for and get into colleges by using their own skills and knowledge, that’s why the SAT and applications were set up. When a parent (leader) steps in and overrides everything the child has done, this shows massive amounts of disrespect because it is basically saying “you are not good enough and therefore I am not going to let you be your own person, instead I will do it for you”. Not only is this unethical in the sense of leading their children, but also in the sense that they took spots for kids who probably deserved to be in the school.
Second are ethical leaders serve others (Northouse, 2016). This principal hits back home to my last post of servant leadership. Serving others simply put is putting the wellbeing of your followers first (Northouse, 2016). As a teen applying for colleges and preparing to venture out on their own needs the love and support of their parents. They need parents who are going to let them fail but then catch them and help them back into the right direction, preparing them for the future, just as servant leadership entails (Northouse, 2016). A parent bribing a school to get their child enrolled is enabling them, not serving them by giving them the boost into life they need.
Third ethical leaders are just, means a leader should treat everyone equally (Northouse, 2016). Just leaders will follow the age-old saying of do unto other as you want done unto you (Northouse, 2016). This is a hard one to explain in this case because they are parents and would (literally) do anything for their children, but that still obviously does not make it ethical. In this scenario I would look at the side of the students who could have potentially been accepted had the Hollywood moms not bribed the schools for admission for their daughters. The students who lost their spots to bribery were probably crushed they did not get accepted when they legitimately qualified for the school. The Hollywood moms should have looked at the situation for their viewpoint, and seen how unjust their actions were.
Fourth we have the need for ethical leaders to be honest (Northouse, 2016). This principal is self-explanatory, an ethical leader has to be honest in order to gain and maintain trust (Northouse, 2016). Can you imagine how the girls felt after finding out their moms had been lying to them the whole time? They probably lost most of, if not all of their trust in their parents. Honesty and transparency are crucial to holding onto followers, and their followers are what make them leaders.
The fifth principal is ethical leaders build community (Northouse, 2016). Building a community is important to giving all of your followers a goal, and passion for something to work towards (Northouse, 2016). This one is again a little hard to relate to this situation. I would look at this principal in relation to the aftermath effects. What these moms did broke the communities of the school; it did not just affect their families but it affected the school personal, students, and even society as well.
Northouse, P. (2019). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc