Washington, D.C. - Photo by Geoff Peters

Fictional Interview with Dr. Sandra J. Hawthorne on the topic of Ethical Leadership — Generated by AI

Washington, D.C. - Photo by Geoff Peters
Washington, D.C. — Photo by Geoff Peters

This text was generated entirely using Artificial Intelligence (GPT-NeoX 20B) and the names and titles mentioned are entirely fictional.

This is an excerpt from an interview between sociologist Qiuning Wang and a distinguished professor of business, Dr. Sandra J. Hawthorne, from Harvard Business School.

Interviewer: Good afternoon Dr. Hawthorne, and thank you for joining us. Today’s topic is Ethical Leadership. Our first question is, “Why ethics in leadership is important?” Please go ahead.

Dr. Hawthorne: Thank you Qiuning. To me, ethics in leadership is important because ethics is at the heart of the human condition. Every person on this planet lives by some set of values or ethical principles.

It is essential for leaders to understand those principles and act accordingly. That’s why they need to have high moral character.

They need to be principled, and they also need to live up to their promises. They need to do the right thing. If they don’t do that, they will not be trusted, and then they cannot lead. So, ethics and moral character are at the heart of effective leadership.

Interviewer: Excellent, thank you. Our next question is, “How can we make ethical choices in difficult situations?” Please go ahead.

Dr. Hawthorne: I have found that when we are faced with ethical dilemmas, what’s critical is how we perceive the situation. In other words, what is our frame of mind? Are we looking at the world through the eyes of love, or are we viewing the world through the eyes of fear? If we are viewing the world through the eyes of love, then our hearts will guide our minds to make good decisions. We want to be careful about the company we keep. We want to be sure that those we spend time with are people who inspire us and who help us to see things differently. Those we spend time with can become mirrors reflecting back our own values and our own priorities.

Interviewer: Very insightful. Thanks. Our next question is, “How should we react towards behaviors that are unethical?” Please go ahead.

Dr. Hawthorne: I think the best way to respond is to first be aware. This may sound like a cliché, but it’s also really true. In my work with leaders at all levels, they often say to me, “Sandra, I didn’t know.” And they’re right. There are so many situations in life where you don’t have time to look up the right thing to do. You just have to make a quick decision based on what you see. The other important thing is that when you do see something wrong, you have to own up to it. It’s not enough to say, “Oh well, I don’t agree with that,” or, “I’m not comfortable with that.” You have to say, “I made a mistake.” You can’t build a strong team if you don’t take responsibility for your own mistakes.

Let me just say that it depends on the context. If we have a specific case in which someone is doing something that they know to be wrong, then that may be a good time to approach them about it and try to talk them out of it. But if you think about it, it’s probably best not to start by accusing them. It’s too easy to get angry, to get defensive, and to become personally invested in the outcome of the conversation. It’s much better to try to identify the reasons for their behavior and help them see that there are other ways of handling the situation. This requires that we first recognize that we might have been involved in the same sort of behavior. This means that we need to be willing to look at our own behavior and make some changes in our behavior.

About the Author

This fictional interview was written by GPT-NeoX 20B, an AI text generation model by eleuther.ai, in combination with the human Geoff Peters.

You can try out the AI model at GooseAI.

About the Human

Geoff Peters is a dad, husband, software developer, musician, and Toastmaster from Vancouver Canada. You can find his website at geoffmobile.com

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