7 Predictions for Ethical Leadership

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Last year was another year of disappointment, deceit and despair. Trusted leaders in politics, business, athletics, and others fail, fall and fool themselves and others into thinking they were untouchable and unstoppable.

As we slog through the second quarter of the year, here's a list that you probably won't see anywhere else. It is a list of predictions that are absolutely, irrefutable, and guaranteed to unfold the rest of this year.

My confidence comes from understanding the nature of leading and remaining steadfast in the face of confusion, chaos and compromise -- three words that describe today's world.

1. Ethical decision-making and conduct will continue to elude government policy.

There are two truths hidden in plain sight about politics:
  • Behind political campaigns and tenure are contributors and supporters that winners are beholden to and must favor once in office.
  • Whenever government attempts to grab the responsibilities of compassion, risk and reward out of the hands of individuals, it results in a disastrous insult against law-abiding, honest, hard working citizens.
  • Politicians are personally and professionally focused on well-meaning intentions, power, and control which always creates terrible consequences.

    2. Ethical focus will heighten, but to what level?

    Realizing that everything revolves around the expectation of integrity, right conduct, and ethical courage, we continue to ignore and excuse misconduct of certain people. Giving a P.A.S.S. (a perverted acceptance of a special situation as outlined in Everyday Ethics, Everlasting Consequences.) to some at the expense of others is an ongoing plague on our judicial and daily systems of control. The favored politician, athlete, entertainer, executive, clergy and others who are excused from severe penalties weaken the tinsel strength of our resolve.

    3. Many will abdicate their knowledge of right and wrong for political correctness until...

    For some time now there has been an increasing movement to consider all decisions of right and wrong as relative. As such, there are no absolutes, no certainty, and everything depends on who, what, when, and how.

    The concept of being non-judgmental in an effort to not offend jeopardizes the societal, workplace and individual expectations of relating to one another. Without absolutes, values will become confused, chaotic and compromised -- along with more and more misconduct.

    4. The values learned in childhood will reassert themselves in our adult lives.

    In spite of the adult complexities we insist upon, there are fundamental precepts that lying, cheating, and stealing are wrong. These principles we learned as children will always outweigh the flawed justifications we attempt as adults. Regardless of our increasing intellect and diverse experiences, our need for clinging to traditional, time-proven values only increases. Wrong is wrong and right is right, no matter what age or what year is on the calendar.

    5. Budgets and focus for organizational ethics spending will remain a low priority until...

    Companies are reticent to allocate budget support beyond attorneys, accountants, and GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) technology. The highest and most effective line of defense for ethical misconduct is in direct, consistent and ongoing conversations, education, and management of key officials and staff.

    Unfortunately, those monies seem elusive and unjustifiable until after a crisis. And when that happens the cost for recovery will always exceed the costs of preventive strategies.

    6. Leaders will continue to find themselves tricked by distractions disguised as opportunities.

    Decision-making, focus, prioritizing, energy and effort are all based on evaluating situations with clarity of values. Often the lure of instant gratification and short term benefit can veil something that is sure to cause irreparable, long term harm. It is the ultimate and defining skill of those entrusted with leadership responsibilities to be able to discern between true opportunities and false ones.

    The ability to resist temptations and have the discipline of deliberate principles often determines a leader's legacy and an enterprise's sustainability for years to come.

    7. Temptations will come and courage will be challenged, but more will win than lose.

    There will be no shortage of temptation in the coming year. Economic, political, religious, business, and societal challenges will continue and so too will the need for critical thinking, strategic preparedness, and a re-commitment to the principles that build personal and professional reputations.

    In spite of the daunting assaults and those who fall prey to unscrupulous acts, as more scrutiny, consequences, and courage will ensure the good behavior will re-energize others.

    Temptation is a part of all of our lives and vigilance is so important. There are times when authority, title, and popularity can be the biggest obstacles to viewing the potential consequences of everyday decisions.

    This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

    This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

    More from Opinion

    Musk Goes on Unoriginal Media Tirade

    Musk Goes on Unoriginal Media Tirade

    What's Happening in Video Games This Week: On the Road to E3

    What's Happening in Video Games This Week: On the Road to E3

    Wednesday Wrap-Up: Let's Talk About General Electric

    Wednesday Wrap-Up: Let's Talk About General Electric

    Week of the Women From Finance to Fast Food

    Week of the Women From Finance to Fast Food

    Tuesday Turnaround: Micron, Autonomous Driving, and J.C. Penney

    Tuesday Turnaround: Micron, Autonomous Driving, and J.C. Penney