The power that comes from being a leader can be used for evil as well as for good. When you assume the benefits of leadership, you also assume ethical burdens. But, many highly successful leaders have relied on questionable tactics to achieve their needs. These include manipulation, verbal attacks, physical intimidation, lying, fear and control.
Jack Welch, former head of general Electric, provided the leadership that made GE the most valuable company in America. He also ruthlessly preached firing the lowest performing 10 percent of the company's employees every year. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers laid off nearly 20 percent of his workforce and commented that the tough times were "likely to be just a speed bump." Tell that to the 17,000 workers he laid off. And yet, Cisco has returned to profitability. Few U.S. presidents understood foreign relations or made as much progress in building international cooperation than did Richard Nixon but, his accomplishments are largely overshadowed by the meanness, dirty tricks, and duplicity he exhibited during his tenure in the White House.
So, this really does beg the question should leaders be judged solely on their end achievements? Or, do the means they choose also reflect on their moral leadership qualities?