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Stronger Leadership: Ethics, Values, Integrity, Corruption - EU Commission - Keynote Speaker

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What is ethical leadership? Leadership ethics and integrity in public life. How do we encourage leadership integrity and fight corruption in leaders? At this session and afterwards, many participants confessed that they had been under significant pressure by bosses to do major things that they thought were unethical.

Keynote conference speaker Patrick Dixon -- lecture at European Commission. Why leadership has to be based on trust, not just position, appealing to heart as well as to mind. Importance of the European Commission and trans-national regulation. Trust crisis in banking and financial services as well as in politicians, governments and the European Union. How to restore trust and public confidence in political process, parties, elections and democracy itself.

How trust can be lost instantly in media, web, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media -- eg dioxin food contamination scandal -- Belgium and impact on Italy, and failure of agricultural ministers to win media debate. Leadership must connect with passion: things we feel strongly about, that really matter, that make a big difference. Eg debate on ethics of food-linked biofuels and burning food in vehicles, impact on global food prices, food riots, international security, connecting oil, food and land prices. Researching my book The Truth about Westminster and UK political system, and how political system can compromise integrity. Tension between civil servants and government ministers -- secret confessions.

Lack of integrity, dishonesty of many political campaigns with rare reversals of legislation after winning power: truth that in many EU nations most politicians agree on most things. Death of left wing and right wing divides and rise of single issue campaigns / pressure groups / activists. Compliance with EU regulation only part of story -- cannot protect corporation brand or media image against media attack if regulations seen to be in need of updating.

Example: bribes were totally legal in some EU nations until recently -- tax deductible expenses. Now bribery is outlawed, no defence to say that bribes paid in the past were ethical because legal and compliant with auditing regulations at the time. So Ethical Leadership must go far beyond current laws to what we believe is morally right, not hiding behind what is permitted.

Core ethic: building a better world. Basis of every effective leadership speech and leadership stye. Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, JF Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill - the ultimate leadership speech. Even evil leaders appeal to "better world" ethics in their rhetoric with an audience. Trust means demonstrating that we are willing to put what is right ahead of self-interest.

Dangers in European Commission due to size, power, golden handcuffs and difficulty in moving to careers outside commission. Organisations that people cannot easily leave are usually corrupt -- history shows -- because power is harder to defy, fear, intimidation.

Why true leadership never comes from position alone: elections for President of the World? Nelson Mandela usually nominated first. He has no office or official status yet is universally respected as a moral authority. People who cannot be owned, bought or controlled, who are driven by high moral principles are usually greatly respected, even feared. Example negotiating better work-life balance with reluctant workaholic boss. Breaking free from economic slavery.

Need to be prepared to leave an organisation to be a free spirit, otherwise constant risk of compromise. Developing an exit strategy as part of retaining own freedom to act against lack of integrity.Astonishing audience question: "In your experience have you EVER come across an organisation that you think is ethical" (!)

Personal story of standing up to being bullied at work to do unethical things, and standing ground.We did anonymous electronic polling during this presentation which showed significant pressures within the senior levels of the European Commission to act in unethical ways on major as well as minor decisions, and that it is difficult for senior managers to know what to do, who to tell in such situations. How to win through when under ethical pressure: power of example. Power of the 80:20 rule. Winning respect, gaining influence and creating space for others to do the right thing.

http://www.youtube.com/v/-fd0FMP8qkc


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