The COVID-19 pandemic has become a major focus in the lives of Americans.
The event cancellations, school closings and guidelines on healthy practices are causing all of us to reassess our day-to-day living.
Furthermore, there is considerable uncertainty about the duration and the outcomes.
Unfortunately, at a time when we should be maintaining our focus on the health and well-being of Americans, the pandemic may bring to the surface some of the problems associated with a climate of extreme partisanship.
We believe there are four key principles for ethical leadership among elected officials. Let’s look at these principles in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ethical leaders are truthful. Are elected leaders disclosing accurate information? Are they downplaying or exaggerating the circumstances?
- Ethical leaders are transparent with public information. Transparency is a challenge in times of crisis. Leaders need to balance the method and message of disclosure to ensure the public is informed. Conditions tend to evolve quickly during a time of crisis and it is a major disservice to downplay or exaggerate serious circumstances. Are our elected leaders taking a straight-forward approach in their disclosure of information?
- Ethical leaders are unifiers. Perhaps the most critical element of leadership is the importance of unifying citizens during a time of crisis. Blaming or criticizing during the time of crisis only hurts everyone. Are our elected leaders sincerely trying to unify our efforts to address a common cause?
- Ethical leaders work to represent the interests of their entire constituency. Simply put, in a time of crisis, we should not be positioning for “winners and losers.” Are our elected leaders focused on the well-being of all citizens...in our country, our state and our community?