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Still honest after all these years?

March 28, 2008
by Ann Borders
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Recently, I reviewed the findings of four studies on leadership. In total, 3,207 executives were asked to identify traits common to successful leaders. Communications, human relations, and planning/goal setting were prominent on each of the four surveys. A surprising omission to me was that none of the lists included words such as ethical, value driven, honest. Would behavioral health executives have answered the question differently? Does our daily attention to compliance and ethical clinical practice make us more inclined to honest management—or are we at risk of becoming self-satisfied because our deliverables are so highly regulated? Do the ever-accelerating financial pressures of our industry make us more vulnerable to 'Enron-esque' ethical failures than in the past?



We would hope that executives would feel that strong ethics would one of the highest points on the list of successful leadership traits. Maybe the omission of this trait was just a common oversight made by the executives polled because there are many qualities leaders hold that make them successful.
Most often, especially in an executive roll, items/decisions are looked at as what is in the best interest of the people we serve (of course highest on the list), our employees, and current financial status. Although, I would not like to sound naive in stating that all executives in all companies operate in an ethical manner with regard to their companies because - for the biggest - reason no one wants to fail.

We could all benefit from greater ethical oversight. One would hope our field is more advanced at this than others, but we are all human and subject to the same temptations and misfortunes.

Ann Borders

President and CEO, Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc

Ann Borders is president and CEO of Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., serving eight...

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