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Ethical Leadership Takes Intentionality

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I was recently reminded that to be an ethical leader, you have to be intentional. That is, intentional about being ethical and intentional about being a leader. Interestingly, this reminder came from an unlikely place: Young leaders on a college football team in New Jersey.

A friend and CPT supporter sent me an article about four college football players. These young men were intentional about doing the right thing when they entered a well-lit store to buy some snacks after practice. After selecting their items, they went up to the counter to pay, but there was no cashier around.

Here is where they got intentional. Although they found no cashier, they found a camera in the store and used it to be intentionally ethical. The young men counted the total of their items and the appropriate tax, showed the cash to the camera, showed the items to the camera and left the cash on the counter to cover the cost of the items before leaving the store.

However, they did not stop there. Here is where they showed leadership. They then went to another store in the complex and told the employee there exactly what they had done. When asked why this last step, one of the young men said they did not want someone else to come in the store and steal anything, including the money they left.

It may seem like a small thing to some, but with all the news we hear about young men and women making bad decisions, it was refreshing for me to hear how these student athletes exercised good judgment and were intentional. Their actions show good ethical leadership. Thank you, Andy DuBoff, for sharing the story with me.

As always, Lead with Integrity.

– Alfonzo Alexander
President, NASBA Center for the Public Trust