Senior leadership ‘set the tone’ by referring to the values and expectations of the company when they address employees – and by living those values too. Ultimately, the actions of leaders speak louder than words. Messages are strengthened when leaders visibly follow the same rules as everyone else.

When we talk about leadership, we don't just mean the chair, CEO, or senior leadership team; leadership is not determined by someone’s seniority or job title. Line managers have an essential role in effectively communicating the organisation’s ethics message and acting as role models for the employees they manage. ‘Tone from the middle’ is as important as ‘tone from the top’. 

Ultimately, everyone can be a leader, in their family, friendship circle, workplace, etc. It is important that everyone in the organisation feels responsible for being a role model and inspire others to live up to high ethical standards. 

Why tone at the top is so important

Simon Webley illustrates how important it is to have ethical leadership

Useful resources

Setting the Tone: a New Zealand perspective on ethical business leadership

Publication type: Report

Setting the Tone: a New Zealand perspective on ethical business leadership

28 Nov 2017

Developing a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians to support workers to speak up safely 

Blog

Developing a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians to support workers to speak up safely 

Read our latest guest blog, by Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, National Guardian, NHS.

15 Sep 2021

From aspiration to action? Reflections on The Ethics Study 2021

Blog

From aspiration to action? Reflections on The Ethics Study 2021

The Ethics Study author, Rob Hayward, shares his personal reflections in our latest guest blog.

15 Apr 2021

Strong, ethical culture - even more important as the world of work transforms radically

Blog

Strong, ethical culture - even more important as the world of work transforms radically

IBE Chair David Grayson talks to Robbie Robertson, Virtual Office Managing Partner, Deloitte, based in Sydney, Australia.

31 Mar 2021