The traditional forms of leadership which attributed more significance to goal-oriented practices have now been replaced by a relatively more human-centric approach that focuses on ethics and the betterment of individuals which include both – employees as well as communities. It is hence imperative for the leaders in present times, to ensure that they lead by example and set proper behavioral norms and ethics for the employees to follow (Skovira & Harman, 2006).People-centric forms of leadership such as the ethical leadership approach ensure that organizational structure is given more significance than the accomplishment of goals and management of people is given precedence over productivity.
This is because processes and systems can only function effectively if the people who are required to operate and follow them are motivated and effective themselves. It is the employees who contribute to the achievement of goals and hence a highly motivated staff is more likely to help the organizations achieve their goals effectively. Leaders are hence required to play their roles efficiently whereby they motivate their staff by leading through example (Liden, Wayne, Zhao, & Henderson, 2008).
Servant leadership is one such approach that centers on ethical leadership and emphasizes developing and focusing on the employees to enable them to achieve optimum levels of performance and improve their efficiency, through self-motivation techniques thus paving way for developing capable and efficient leaders of the future (Reinke, 2004).As more and more famed organizations continue to bite the dust due to a myriad of controversies surrounding their ethical policies and approach to business, calling into question their credibility and commitment to their stakeholders, the need for more ethical leadership grows stronger than ever before.
The fall from grace of the renowned Lehman Brothers’ due to questionable accounting practices controversy in 2010 (Wolff, 2011), to .the world’s largest retailer – Walmart’s Mexico Scandal in 2012 .(Heineman, 2014) points to a greater and urgent need for ethical leadership.