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Because of the intensified misconduct behavior by our societal leaders, there is a greater need to examine ideals that can be fostered in order to improve the leaders' ethical standards. According to Hackett and Wang's analysis of ideals and leadership, the cardinal virtues of leadership, which are defined as ethics, life fulfillment, pleasure, and effectiveness, are the main aspects in establishing correct moral standards for leaders in society. The assumption in their first proposition that only a particular code of virtues can characterize the character of every leader is incorrect. Rather, the virtues of leadership, which vary from different leaders, should be aligned from the moral/ethical perspective of leadership that include servant leadership, spiritual leadership, ethical leadership, charismatic leadership, visionary leadership, and transformational leadership (Hackett and Wang 2012).
The second proposition is that the habituation or the nurturing of leadership is an intentional and voluntary process. Hackett and Wang acknowledge that leadership virtues can be acquired through the progressive process of practice but requires the willingness of the leader to incorporate the attributes as part of their habitual personality (2012). The researchers further identified the importance of the leadership virtues as important factors in enhancing performance, promoting ethics, and providing happiness. From their close reference with the Aristotelian thoughts, Hackett and Wang also proposed that these virtues promote not only personal satisfaction but also extend the good mood toward the dispensation of services. This means that a leader who has incorporated the virtues behaves ethically as justified in the virtue ethics domain. In an extension to this proposition, Hackett and Wang also developed a criterion to judge whether a leader's action is ethical (2012). The judgment analyses the character of the leader, the motive, the action itself, and the consequences of the action.
Rick D. Hackett, Gordon Wang, (2012) "Virtues and leadership: An integrating conceptual framework founded in Aristotelian and Confucian perspectives on virtues", Management Decision, Vol. 50 Issue: 5, pp.868-899,
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