Often in organisations – including the public sector, integrity is synonymous with legal compliance so therefore compliance defines what is right. But while something might be legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ethical.
As we face the advent of new technologies, leaders need to continually explore what being ethical means so that ethical leadership is core to everything. We can no longer ask ourselves ‘can I?’ but must now answer the question ‘should I?’.
Ethical is about being honest, ensuring behaviour is in line with moral values and leadership is the how, ensuring there is transparency, reinforcing and role-modelling to motivate the people around you to make the right decisions.
That is why the theme of this year’s Chartered Accountants ANZ Leadership in Government Awards is ‘building culture, governance and leadership’.
We need to have the appropriate systems and processes in place so that leaders and culture are a constant reminder of values in the face of hard decisions.
As the engine room of the nation, the public sector are more than aware of the rapid pace of change occurring. It has become the norm. Therefore, leadership needs to be nourished at all levels.
The approach is no longer ‘act a certain way’, but also to ‘teach a certain way’. Leaders are critical in embedding ethics in the hearts and mind of the leaders of tomorrow.
As we look to the future, it is clear ethical behaviour is fundamental to public trust. This is particularly true for those in the public sector who work every day to act in the public interest and improve the lives of Australians. Ethical leadership is about service and people first, which aligns well with the public sector.
This is a time to celebrate leaders who are actively encouraging and creating building stronger cultures through all levels.
The judges of the Leadership in Government Awards are considering not only the unique achievements of exceptional leaders in the public service, but also how they have demonstrated the functions of leadership and displayed the knowledge, skills and qualities of an effective leader.
There are three categories ranging from well-established public servants to those in the early stages of their careers who show great future potential; The Outstanding Contribution in Public Administration, Emerging Leader of the Year and Outstanding Graduate of the Year.
The awards are judged by an independent panel that includes previous winners and is chaired by former Federal Commissioner of Taxation, Michael D’Ascenzo.
Nominations for the Leadership in Government Awards are open now until 6 September 2019. You can nominate here.