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How to Develop Online Ethical Leadership Training That Has Impact

They often say that ethical leaders are born and not bred. Your culture and upbringing determine whether or not you act ethically. Hence, your executive selection process will no doubt weed out those who display unethical behavior. In fact, they probably never made it past the interview phase to join the company. Even so, it is always possible for people to vacillate and make bad decisions under pressure. Because of this, training executives on the ethical standards your company requires is a mission critical task. If you choose to take this online training course, you can test decision-making skills in a safe place. Is your online ethical leadership training up to date?

What do we expect from ethical leaders?

Our leaders set the tone for the entire organization. What they think, say and do affects every employee. Online ethical leadership training should therefore help them set the same high standards for themselves as they do for their team members. A leader with strong ethical decision-making skills demonstrates all of the following behaviors:

  • Be clear about the mission and values ​​of the organization
  • Follow your own personal values ​​and live by them, even if this puts you at a competitive disadvantage. In short, they live from their own “inner voice”
  • Role model of desired behavior and behavior with integrity. For example, they call out those who conflict with these behaviors and reward those who consistently display the desired values
  • Be aware of situations where unethical behavior can be triggered. Here they act consciously to ensure that their own personal values ​​are not compromised
  • Have an established process for responding ethically to dilemma situations. This includes preparing ahead of time, evaluating your decisions, and seeking advice
  • You are brave in the face of possible consequences

Development of an online training for ethical leadership with effect

Online training for ethical leaders needs to draw the fine line between training leaders on politics and valuing their existing experience. Make the context for this online training program clear from the start. Effective online ethical leadership training includes all of the following:

1. Clear learning goals and expectations

Set yourself achievable learning goals right from the start. First, explain the content for the online training and why it is important for managers to give their full participation. Include learning expectations so that corporate learners know what online training will be like. You also need to be clear about what constitutes unethical behavior. And how you can avoid crossing the line at work. For example, new team leaders may be unaware of the fact that their innocent gift giving was a compliance violation in the past.

2. Make the learning real and understandable

Use online training as a real opportunity to test your leaders’ ethical skills. Integrate simulations, branching scenarios, and case studies to turn knowledge into skills. Those who are new to leadership positions will particularly benefit from having a safe place to test their skills.

3. Helpful “push” microlearning assets

Executives are known to be short on time and have a multitude of conflicting requirements. However, you can make knowledge preservation easier by transferring microlearning resources such as videos or infographics to your mobile devices. This allows executives to quickly access it to refresh their memories between meetings or on the train.

4. Make an emotional connection

Get leaders to think about how their employees feel in scenarios where they could be ethically challenged. You could use the “shock factor” to embed the effects of unethical leadership decisions. Show the impact on the individual leader, their dependents and the company profile. Just make sure you don’t go too far. You want to get your message home and not create unnecessary controversy.

5. Lean On Visuals

Much of the online ethical leadership training is about highlighting the negative effects of unethical behavior. It often does this through statistics related to fines or lost hours. Numbers are known to be difficult to store. So use infographics and videos so that the statistics are preserved. You can also include compelling imagery and visual metaphors to help illustrate the point and improve understanding.

6. Open a bidirectional communication channel

Give executives a place where they can solve problems. Providing a confidential post-training support mechanism to ask questions as they arise. They can also start a private social media group where they can turn to peer-based support. Team leaders should know that their contributions are important and that your organization values ​​their active participation.

7. Schedule live team leader events

Hold regular events to help team leaders learn about the latest compliance guidelines and share their experiences on the job. You can also take this opportunity to get feedback on online ethical leadership training and how it can be improved. Record the online training event for those too busy to attend. Then invite them to leave comments to spark peer-based discussions.


Regardless of the situation, we require our managers to react in a predictable manner in accordance with corporate and personal values. There are no exceptions – and it is important that everyone clearly understands these expectations. The online training for ethical managers offers managers the opportunity to safely test their skills and to connect emotionally with the content. However, leaders are short of time and we cannot expect them to seek online training experiences in the same way as other corporate learners. So we need to hold them accountable for regular push updates in the form of micro-learning.

We must at all times provide a mechanism for discussing ethical issues. And we need to get the maximum impact with online ethical leadership training while we have their time and attention. Set up the training carefully, create interactive online training content and let them try their skills. All of these will help the leader understand and internalize the real effects of unethical behavior.

Which leadership development training company is a good fit for your organization? Search our free online directory to find the best eLearning content provider for your industry and use case.


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