Leading with Ethical Behavior – Nu Leadership Series

“A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today – and in fact we have forgotten.”
John F. Kennedy

Is it really necessary that a leader be high in integrity? Let’s explore this ethical behavior thought in leaders. Malphurs, author of Values-Driven Leadership, explains that organizational values co-exist on two levels, personal and corporate. On a personal level, individuals have a set of core values that dictate their actions. For organizations, these core values guide the operations.

Let’s examine an application. The movie Training Day, with its urban flavor, depicts a rookie cop teamed up with a seasoned veteran, Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). The rookie operates under the virtues of the police force (service, integrity, etc.) while Harris doesn’t. Harris’ ruthless nature gives him street credibility, but Harris’ values are at odds with his organizational values. What happens when leaders don’t align with institutional values?

If leaders don’t adhere to God’s moral framework, they can follow Harris’ path. This occurrence can be contrasted by the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. McGee, biblical author, explains that the works of the flesh are what people do and the Ten Commandments were given to control this sinful nature; however, the Christian life is meant to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).

Therefore, leaders must follow God’s framework for establishing honorable institutions. Start today!


Malphurs, A. (1996). Values-Driven Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Bakers Books.

McGee, J. (1991). Galatians. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Rokeach, M. (2000). Understanding Human Values. Grand Rapids, MI: Bakers Books.

Qwipster.net (2006). Qwipster’s Movie Review on Training Day. Received on March 22, 2006 at http://www.qwipster.net/trainingday.htm.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green