Ethical Self Reflection

2103 Words Jan 6th, 2013 9 Pages
Running Head: Ethical Self Reflection

Ethical Self Reflection
Masters in Organizational Leadership
In many cases, a person must choose between two or more “rights” that may or may not align with both one’s moral and ethical standards. The care-based, rule-based, ends-based thinking to arrive at a decision rather than rationalizing after the fact are necessary for analyzing ethical dilemmas (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2012, pp. 164-165). The self-reflection needed to identify one’s fundamental nature, and to understand the morals, ethics and values one uses to make decisions are critical to becoming an authentic leader who is a moral manager that serves the people that follow him or her (Hughes,, pp. 152-153).
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However, “man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal…[and] one of the hardest things to believe is the abysmal depth of human stupidity” (Heinlein, 1953, p. 18). This Sartrean brand of existentialism is based on the idea that we act first, and then look around for reason afterward (Brennan, p. 122). This rationalizing does not operate at the level of our own behavior alone. We, as social animals, are prone to adapt to the reality as others find it. We tend to conform, even if, when rationally examined, the reality of the group does not make sense. “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I scene 3, 78-82). Shakespeare provides Polonius a voice that resonates clearly in present contexts the importance of being true with one’s morals and virtues. True, not in the Elizabethan sense of making certain you had your home and finances in order to allow you to better help others, but true in a sense of Plato’s maxim “Know Thyself”. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose name is strongly associated with the Enlightenment movement, believed that the knowledge of oneself is the beginning of wisdom (Brennan, J., p.75). Gaining this knowledge requires self-reflection. Reflection links changed awareness with changed action. Reflection is a
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