Welcome to the Oxford Ethical Leadership Programme
We are delighted to invite you on this journey of becoming leaders of good character who are able to make ethical decisions and act with integrity. Watch the welcome message and explore the resources to prepare yourself for our next session at the Annual Scholars Conference.
As Laidlaw Scholars, you are expected to go on to careers where you will make important contributions and exercise your influence in different areas of society, both in your own country and around the world. It is also true, however, that you will take up positions of responsibility at a time of significant global uncertainty when there is a marked lack of confidence in leadership worldwide. How can a new generation of leaders like you prepare themselves to contribute positively to this rapidly changing context, learning to think in a way that is not only clever but wise, learning to lead in a way that not only furthers personal ambition but actively seeks the wider good of society?
This leadership programme builds on work on leadership and character formation at the University of Oxford over the past ten years. This follows a recent emphasis in leadership studies on personal and relational aspects of leadership and differs from most leadership programmes, which focus primarily on management strategy or practical skills. There is no doubt that strategies and skills are important, but it is increasingly evident that these cannot guarantee ethical leadership. Our research shows that character is seen as a central feature of good leadership; in fact, in a recently published study, we discovered that over 50% of the qualities considered necessary for good leadership are related to character.
Hence, our approach seeks to understand leadership as a personal category before it is a professional one, placing values and virtues at the heart of ethical leadership. Throughout the programme, we will help you to develop the changemaker values and character qualities mentioned in the Laidlaw Foundation's 3 C Leadership Framework. The aim of this programme is not to pass on a discrete set of skills or impose a single perspective so much as to create a space for ongoing leadership formation, helping you to adopt a new approach to life and leadership that will enable you to grow as an ethical leader in both current and future roles. We encourage you to explore the resources below to prepare yourself for the journey ahead.
1. Welcome message
In this programme, we will offer six virtual workshops on different aspects of ethical leadership and character development. We will focus on essential character qualities such as purpose, growth, love, integrity, and practical wisdom. In the end, you will be able to integrate the lessons into your life and make it a lifetime practice. Watch a short welcome message from Dr Corey Crossan, Research and Teaching Fellow at The Oxford Character Project, to learn about the key features of the programme.
2. Character 101
What is character and how can you develop it to become an ethical leader? Our teaching framework is based on research-based strategies for character development. Explore the document to learn more about the strategies and how these will be embedded throughout the programme.
3. The Moral Bucket List
Finally, here's a short op-ed - The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks, where he paints an aspirational vision for the type of people we all would want to be. In the programme, we will support you to become the best versions of yourself and this piece may offer you some food for thought about the leader you would like to be!