Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Ethical Leadership in Educational Institutions

Prof Dr Md Mahmudul Hassan

Ethical Leadership in Educational Institutions

Leadership is an artistic strategy and ideological ability of a leader in any institution. It is the ability of an individual to influence and guide the members of a team, group, organisation or institution to achieve specific goals with inspiration and guidance. The relationship of ethics of a leader with his leadership is intense. Immoral leadership involves the erosion of individual character. The improvement and progress of any organisation is due to its ideological ability and moral leadership. The importance of ethics in educational institutions is much more. Leadership that involves morality is called Ethical Leadership. Professional principles of ethical leaders in educational institutions include selflessness, honesty, objectivity, accountability, openness and commitment. Ethical leadership is needed to move the educational institution forward, where a leader must be the ideal example of ethics.

 The appropriate leadership behaviour that the leaders of the organisation display in terms of ethics must be in a positive way, which can greatly affect the institutional connection. This is why the three basic elements of leadership are so important: (1) Respecting oneself and others in interpersonal communication, behaviour and environmental sustainability,  (2) To establish personal connections and increase mutual support with the educational institution authorities, teachers-staff, students-parents and the public, and (3) to continue the overall practice of leaders to get the cooperation of the classroom, teachers and the concerned community of the society to be role models in everything.

 A study says that the need for ethics in leadership has been found around for a long time, and in the last one hundred years, the pattern of leadership ethics has changed a lot.  It also says that 21st century leadership should be based on the principles and moral qualities of the leader.  But the main challenge is to measure and apply what the principles and ethical qualities of leadership are and how they can be achieved.  Again, in the educational context, what qualifications he should acquire as a moral leader and what character traits are associated with moral leadership should be identified and reflected in practice.

 According to George Marshall, ethical leadership should have a strong scaffold for leaders or administrators, through which teachers and leaders in educational institutions can set an example of ethical leadership by overcoming their challenges.  Ethics is a key domain in public administration, especially in most educational institutions in developed countries where students are taught the principles of ethics and ethical leadership.  In the light of administrative skills and experience, a few notable principles of ethical leadership can be effectively applied in the educational institutions, which can contribute to the overall development of the educational institution.

 Firstly:  Personal Courage and Morale - It may seem that there are many challenges or unethical activities going on in the educational institutions which are increasing day by day.  In this case the leader or administrator has to increase his personal courage and they have to stand against unprincipled activities to create a positive educational environment.  In addition, it is necessary to create strong will and morale to establish something that can ensure the welfare of students and teachers-staff.

 Secondly:  Giving Priority to the Public Interest over Oneself - What is best for students, teachers, officials and employees - must be put above the personal interests of the leader.  In this case, a leader must be completely selfless in protecting the public interest and the interests of all communities associated with the educational institution.  Everyone's opinion and demands should always be prioritized over the interest of the institutional leaders.

 Thirdly: Self-discipline, Self-governance, and Honesty - These three qualities are essential for ethical leadership. The community looks forward to leaders of all powers and as such leaders need to have a positive role model and strength in the lives of stakeholders.  Relationships between leaders and subordinates should not be based too much on trust, but on mutual respect and moral action.  Honesty, concentration, discipline, self-control skills are the important aspects of the leadership strategy.

 Fourthly: Work Ethics - Educational leaders must build a foundation of success that comes from the workforce of teachers and staff who communicate with students.  When successful leaders make decisions, they pay close attention to the needs of students, teachers and staff.  The key is to maintain a balance between the work assigned to the staff and their strengths, as well as to build unity based on the different needs of students and teachers.

Fifthly: Recognition of Talent and Achievement - Ethical leaders recognize the talent and achievement of their colleagues.  This means that leaders identify both students and staff who display qualities of excellence and promote them in front of everyone.  As a result, good relations and goodwill are created among all the members of the organization.  Another aspect of recognizing talent is to make it more widely known, so that others may be inspired to see it and benefit the institution as a whole.

 Sixthly:  High Moral Standards Are Required of Everyone - Leaders need to think not only about their own moral values but also about the moral values of others in their institution.  It should include not only teachers and staff, but also students and parents.  In order to make it more effective, its quality must be clearly communicated to all and it must be applied in all cases without exception.

 Seventhly: Sensitivity and Understanding - This applies to the political, social and economic environment of the stakeholders involved in the management of the educational institution.  There is a great importance for sensitivity and mutual understanding to practice equality among all members.  This is one of the most challenging areas of ethical leadership.  This practice must be applied through educational institution's policies.

 Eighthly: Inclusiveness - Thinking of everything in an institution as one's own and loving everything there is the key to success under the leadership of a leader.  The leader is a guardian of the educational institution, who will work together with his colleagues.  When a project is completed by a team work process, it becomes possible to succeed quickly and get the best output.  The main principle of the leader is to involve all the members of the institution in different tasks.  Because, through the inclusiveness method, all the stakeholders can be made happy and effective results can be obtained in decision making and implementation.  It shows consideration, evaluation and respect to all the members of the institution so that they become industrious and increase their morale.  As a result, any action taken by the leader becomes successful and the effectiveness of the institution increases.

 Ninthly: Respect for others Opinion: It is one of the most beautiful principles of any leader, by which he will listen to everyone's opinion with equal importance and implement it if felt appropriate. Educational institutions are run through the concerted efforts of all junior and senior individuals.  It is the sole duty of the head of an organization to seek the views and suggestions of all concerned before making any decision.  This makes the decision more likely to be correct and easier to implement.

 Therefore, applying the ethics and ideals of the leader is one of the main principles in establishing leadership, without which leadership is worthless and useless. When the leaders of educational institutions follow the above principles of ethical considerations, they are more likely to achieve higher success in the overall environment. The main principle of leadership is not only to monitor their attendance, but also to encourage them in their daily work as well as other welfare activities.  Strong moral practice is inspiring and exemplary for on-duty staff and all colleagues.  Finally, it is imperative to establish ethics under the leadership of any leader, which makes his working environment peaceful and brings endless success in all aspects in the educational institutions.


The writer is Principal, Daffodil International School, Dhaka and President, Bangladesh Smart Education Network (BdSEN)