What does FIFA teach us about ethical leadership and decision making?
It’s almost a week since the football world cup started and so far there have been some real shocks, not least the defeat of Spain and the goalless draw between Brazil and Mexico.
But while many of us are focused on reorganising our schedules to make sure we don’t miss a thing, the debate about how FIFA arrived at its decision to hold the 2022 world cup in Qatar rumbles on and Sepp Blatter remains in the firing line.
Whether or not you’re a football fan, you must concede that the FIFA debacle does raise some interesting questions, yet again, about ethical leadership and business decision making.
Maybe the leaders of FIFA should read their own mission which says “Football is much more than just a game. Its universal appeal means it has a unique power and reach which must be managed carefully. We believe that we have a duty to society that goes beyond football…”
Ethical leadership is leading by knowing and doing what is right. Leaders must act and make decisions ethically.
When defining 21st century leadership there is consensus that leaders have the responsibility for high standards of moral and ethical conduct. If leaders are ethical, they can ensure that ethical practices are carried out throughout the organization.
But there’s little point in simply writing this in mission and values statement. Leaders, including FIFA, have a moral duty to exemplify ethical leadership and transparent decision making.