How to Create and Curate Engaging Social Content?

As you may know by now, your social media strategy is centered around social content. However, creating engaging content requires a lot of planning and considerations.

You may often find yourself wondering:

“which creatives should I post today? how to write engaging captions that speak to my followers? And what does my audience like?” 

If you are still struggling to find that perfect balance between promotional content and brand personality, I get it! It’s not easy, and even #sproutsocial market research shows that the pressure is increasing for brands as:

  • 46% of Instagram users are annoyed when companies they follow share too much irrelevant content, while
  • 41% of users said they’d unfollow brands that are posting promotional content too often.

Luckily for you, I’m here to help. Based on the most recent market research data, I’ve summarized a few content strategies that actually work!

Here’s what kind of content you should publish if you are looking to increase your followers and engagement on social:


Yes, you guessed it! The best way to attract new audience on social is through videos. According to Instagram analytics, video content (any kind – live, shot video, loop video) gets 20% more interactions than a static photo. #CliniqueMalaysia marketers have made videos their top priority and they seem to be applying this content strategy rather well.  

CliniqueMalaysia marketers have made videos their top priority and they seem to be applying this content strategy rather well.
Source: @CliniqueMalaysia/Instagram (2019)


Customers LOVE authentic content that looks and feels “homemade” versus promotional. So, I cannot even stress how important it is for a brand to create a branded #hashtag and encourage user generated posts. #GymsharkWomen is an example of a brand that is successfully making use of user generated content (UGC) on its social media.

Gymshark is an example of a brand that is making use of user generated content (UGC) on it's social media.
Source: @GymsharkWomen/ Instagram (2019)


There’s no doubt that Instagram and Facebook are visual platforms. Keep your feed colourful and consistent to attract new users and compel them to keep scrolling. Have a look at #Boscia’s eye-pleasing instagram feed and you’ll feel you want to discover more.

Have a look at #Boscia's eye-pleasing instagram feed and you'll feel you want to discover more.
Source: @Boscia / Instagram (2019)


It’s called “social networking” for a reason! I know it takes effort to respond to all client’s comments but it sure pays off to have a high channel engagement rate! You gain respect as brand and you are showing that you value your customers. Starbucks marketing is highly focused on customer interaction and responding to customer requests/feedback.

Starbucks marketing
Source: @Starbucks/Instagram (2019)


There’s no denying that social media marketing is a matter of trial-and-error. Always keep an eye on your most liked and most commented posts. This way you’ll know what is working (what your audience likes) – and you can focus on creating more engaging posts in the future. 

There are multiple social media tracking and analysis tools available on the market, and even Instagram, Facebook or Twitter now come with (FREE) built-in features. If you are looking for trending keywords hashtag performance tracker my go to is #Keyhole (which is also FREE to use).

Source: (2019)

And with this, I’ll wrap up the checklist. I truly hope you find these steps useful in creating and curating content for your online platforms. 

Are you looking for more tips? Let me know in the comments. 

Featured Image: @acolorstory/Instagram

Let’s Talk Hashtags!

⁣⁣Do you use them? Should you use them? Can they help you increase your reach and engagement?

Hashtags, when used correctly are the bomb 🎉. And yup they absolutely CAN increase your reach and engagement. Here are a few tips on how to use and really optimise hashtags:⁣⁣

  1. AVOID using general hashtags such as #love #girl #flower. These general keywords get lost amongst all the other photos linked to that tag.⁣⁣
  2. ALTERNATE between a few different hashtag sets to target different demographic groups. ⁣⁣
  3. FOLLOW specific hashtags to discover new accounts and reach new customers. ⁣⁣
  4. Use them in your STORIES to increase your chances of being discovered by new clients.⁣⁣
  5. MONITOR popular keywords & hashtags. Keyword analytics can help you improve campaigns in the future. ⁣

Examples of keywords to monitor:⁣⁣

  1. Trending keywords – research the keywords that are specifically mentioned with your brand and social media profiles. This can help you plan future ad campaigns.⁣
  2. Keyword performance – what are the most used hashtag? – which keywords drive the most engagement? This data shows what is currently working in the market and can help you benchmark future campaigns. ⁣⁣
  3. Look at your competitors – how often to they post? What are their most used hashtags, which are their most engaged hashtags? How often do they respond to comments?⁣ ⁣

Now that you understand better the power of these little ones, start hashtagging guys!✨⁣

⁣aaand don’t forget to have a great weekend!


#socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #businessowner #remotework #freelancer #newbusiness #smallbusiness #socialmediamanager #handmade #etsy #localbusiness #workfromhome #bloggerlife #lifestyleblogger #contentcreator #businesstips #femaleentrepreneurs #socialmediastrategy #influencermarketing #igersmalaysia #startup #hashtags #analytics #malaysianstartup #creative #instagramtips #marketingtips

How to create a Social Media Publishing Calendar: Tips and Templates

What are Social Media Calendars

Imagine this scenario: you own a flower delivery store and it’s #InternationalWomensDay. You had no idea until a customer enquired “Hey, do you have any promotion for #InternationalWomensDay?”. Now you feel bad that you overlooked this. But it’s not your fault. You were busy running and growing your business.

At this point you may think: “so, what is a social media publishing calendar and how can it help my business?” Well, be prepared to enter the world of the #SocialMediaCalendar – just like a regular content calendar only it’s the most helpful tool you could ever use in social media marketing. Still confused?

Social media calendars are spreadsheets or apps used to schedule social posts in advance. They’re also used to plan when and which content will be shared, manage campaigns, and track deadlines.

Now, let’s have a look at a few different calendar formats you might come across: 

  • Printed calendars. These can be helpful for mapping out content themes and making note of upcoming content and events needing social media promotion. You might keep something like this on your desk or pinned to your cubicle wall.
  • Spreadsheets. Online spreadsheets are flexible and free. The great thing is that you can monitor and share the calendar together with your team in Google Docs.
  • Social media calendar apps and scheduling tools. These apps add a level of automation that spreadsheets can’t match. The disadvantage, is that they’re not usually free. Some examples: Asana, Sproutsocial.
Social media scheduling app. Asana –

What Are The Real Benefits?

Here are some of it’s benefits/uses:

  • Seamless organization. A calendar allows you to spot publishing gaps and the overall flow of your posts over a period of time (week, month). It can also help you spot things that you may have overlooked.
  • Consistency. A calendar helps you ensure that you are publishing consistently and with purpose (as opposed to posting randomly). Posting frequently without a cohesive message will only decrease your chances of building a long term engagement with your audience. 
  • Efficiency. Using a calendar allows you to schedule your messages for optimal times when your audience is most active, increasing the odds they’ll get seen.

Start By Downloading Your Free Social Media Calendar Template

This weekly publishing schedule templates is built to make planning social media posts easy. I’m giving you a few options. Don’t worry, it’s free to download and you can either print it or edit it online. #freetemplate

Hope you find it useful. Have a great day ahead!



Asana (2019) [Online]

Sproutsocial (2019) [Online]

Image source:

How to Build your Social Media Strategy?

The popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram has been staggering over the past few years and it has left a mark on how brands are created, how they interact with customers, how latest promotions are shared, and basically, how profits are made in this digital era. Small business owners and marketers alike have been investing more time and resources trying to figure out how to grow their online presence and capture market share.

Any successful social media marketing strategy starts with strategic planning. Or, as a wise man once said:

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”


Set goals to address your biggest challenges 

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you wish to achieve from social media marketing. It’s important to set goals (KPIs) which are relevant, attainable and measurable.

Examples of goals:

  • Increase brand awareness

If your goal is to create an authentic and long lasting brand awareness, you should avoid focusing too much on pushing sales pitches and sales content to your audience. Instead, produce content that is relevant and useful for your followers. By establishing trust and having open communication with your audience, the people will be more likely to recognise and be loyal to your brand – If they do not, it means that your content is not relevant for the audience!

  • Maximise sales

Keyword search. If you are trying to increase your revenue, you should spend some time monitoring and researching on phrases and hashtags for your industry. You can do this by looking at your competitors. What strategies are they using to drive engagement or sales?

Effective targeting. Another thing you may want to do is segment your target market into smaller groups and create content that is relevant for each group rather than using the broad targeting. Through effective targeting you will also be able to connect with the relevant audience for your product/service who are more likely to purchase your product/service.

Influencer marketing. Are you a company that sells physical products? Then, you can make use of influencer marketing – which is basically connecting with Instagramers and offering to pay the fee to post content with your product.

  • Drive traffic to your website/physical store

Many brick and mortar stores are using social media as a way to attract buyers to their physical stores. If that is your goal, your brand should be promoting enough content on social platforms to entice buyers to visit your online/physical store. Effective ways of achieving this strategy are about alerting customers of what’s going on in your stores, including promotions and action shots of your store.

A combination of these explicit goals can also help you better understand and determine which social media platforms to use in your approach.

Are you trying to maximise sales in a short time? Then you can consider keyword search (Google). Or if you have decided influencer marketing is the way to go, you will most probably focus on Instagram.

I would advice you to keep your social media strategy simple and focus on 1 or 2 objectives.

Is your social media marketing strategy helping you achieve goals? Hope this breakdown helped you getting some inspiration and guidance for setting social media goals for this year.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need further advice! 🙂

Have a great year ahead!

#socialmediamarketing #strategicplanning #marketingstrategy #goals #leadership #businessadvisory


Brent B. (2019) [Online] Available from <;

Gist (2019) [Online] Available from <;

The New Reality for Leadership

The 21st century business environment changes have created an opportunity for the rise of ethical leaders as the traditional perception of a leader-as-hero is now being challenged by that of a humble leader who empowers and develops others.

What is ethical behaviour?

Definition: Acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values. Ethical behaviour involves demonstrating respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights.

Environmental changes and leadership

The 2008 financial crisis has taught us that the confidence in organisations, once shattered, can’t be quickly restored. As such, the public has become more scrutinising of corporations’ – especially of their leaders –  moral conduct and values.

A 2015 survey conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management, supports this theory as over 70% of managers interviewed strongly agreed that society has grown higher expectations of corporate ethical behaviour than prior 2008.

After decades of screening potential leaders for charm and charisma, some employers are realizing they’ve been missing some of the most important traits of all: ethical values.

From organisational perspective, the realm of business is changing rapidly as a result of recent emergent trends such as: globalization, deregulation, E-commerce, social media, and virtual teams. Concurrently, these changes have raised new challenges for leadership to be effective in the twenty-first century.

Therefore, it requires leaders to evolve to a new-paradigm mindset which allows them to be more flexible and adaptive in facing environmental changes. The new realities are outlined in the table below.

‘It is fatal to pretend. I prefer to do anything on the quiet rather than boast about it.’—Indira Gandhi

In conclusion, with globalisation and emergence of economies of scale, a company’s role in society has extended and it impacts on many individuals both inside and outside the company. Therefore, it has created an increasing pressure for corporations to operate with a greater regard for moral and ethical concerns. The lessons learned from past scandals and organisational crises that trace back to the early 2000s make one thing clear: without an ethical culture, organisations will be at a great risk.



Business Dictionary. [Online] Available from <;

Daft and Pirola Merlo (2015). The New Reality for Leadership

Institute of Leadership and Management (2015). [Online] Available from <;

Schellenbarger (2018). The Best Bosses are Humble Bosses. [Online] Available from <;

The Buy Nothing Movement

Consumerism Rising? Resisting is empowering.


Social media, magazines and shop windows bombard people daily with things to buy, and British consumers are buying more clothes and shoes than ever before. Online shopping means it is easy for customers to buy without thinking, while major brands offer such cheap clothes that they can be treated like disposable items – worn two or three times and then thrown away.

The Telegraph (2019) reports that in the UK an average person spends more than £1,042 on new clothes a year, which is around 4% of their income. That might not sound like much, but that figure hides two far more worrying trends for society and for the environment. First, a lot of that consumer spending is via credit cards. According to the Independent (2019) research, each household in the UK now has an average of £2,688 unpaid on credit cards. That’s 2.6 times the average wardrobe budget. Also, not only are people spending money they don’t have, they’re using it to buy things they don’t need. Britain throws away 300,000 tons of clothing a year, most of which goes into landfill sites.

People might not realise they are part of the disposable clothing problem because they donate their unwanted clothes to charities. But charity shops can’t sell all those unwanted clothes. ‘Fast fashion’ goes out of fashion as quickly as it came in and is often too poor quality to recycle; people don’t want to buy it second-hand. Huge quantities end up being thrown away, and a lot of clothes that charities can’t sell are sent abroad, causing even more economic and environmental problems.

However, a different trend is springing up in opposition to consumerism – the ‘buy nothing’ trend. The idea originated in Canada in the early 1990s and then moved to the US, where it became a rejection of the overspending and overconsumption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday during Thanksgiving weekend. The Buy Nothing Project was started in 2013 by two women in Washington state, and has since spread to 30 countries. On Buy Nothing Day people organise various types of protests and cut up their credit cards. Throughout the year, Buy Nothing groups organise the exchange and repair of items they already own.

The anti-consumerism trend has now reached influencers on social media who usually share posts of clothing and make-up that they recommend for people to buy. Some YouTube stars now encourage their viewers not to buy anything at all for periods as long as a year. Two friends in Canada spent a year working towards buying only food. For the first three months they learned how to live without buying electrical goods, clothes or things for the house. For the next stage, they gave up services, for example haircuts, eating out at restaurants or buying petrol for their cars. In one year, they’d saved $55,000.

The changes they made meant two fewer cars on the roads, a reduction in plastic and paper packaging and a positive impact on the environment from all the energy saved. If everyone followed a similar plan, the results would be impressive. But even if you can’t manage a full year without going shopping, you can participate in the anti-consumerist movement by refusing to buy things you don’t need. Buy Nothing groups send a clear message to companies that people are no longer willing to accept the environmental and human cost of overconsumption.

How to participate in this movement: 

The rules are simple:

“Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.”

Read more on this topic:


Why Starbucks Failed in Australia?

Are you shocked to find out that Starbucks has failed on the Australian continent? Well, keep reading to find out exactly why it happened. 

Starbucks is a truly global coffee brand, with more than 20,000 stores in 2016 spanning from Shanghai to Argentina. But there is one continent that was uninterested in the coffee giant: you guessed it, Australia. According to CNBC (2018), Australian consumers were not impressed by the way Starbucks decided to enter the market. This has led to a major failure for the American coffee brand.

Starbucks opened the doors to its first store in Australia back in year 2000. However, in the first 10 years Starbucks accumulated $105mil in losses, forcing the company to close 70% of its stores in Australia.

So what went wrong?

Here’s a summary of 4 reasons why Starbucks has failed in the Australian market:

1. Failing to understand the Australian consumer

Australia’s coffee culture has been strongly formed over a century. Since 1900s, when the first Italian and Greek immigrants moved to the continent, they introduced the espresso, which is the key ingredient to Australians’ favourite coffee beverage today – the flat white. Like Italians, Australian consumers didn’t fancy the sweet coffee offerings on the Starbucks menu, preferring smaller sized coffee, black and unsweetened coffee tastes. Starbucks tried to replicate closely the US business model and failed to research the market beforehand, to understand the Australian consumer preference and match its menu to local taste – instead, Starbucks served sweeter coffee options for which they charged more than local cafes.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 3.14.54 PM
Starbucks Australia Menu Sweet Coffee Offering ( 2018)

2. Underestimating Brand Loyalty

In markets like the UK and China, Starbucks were extremely successful mainly because they were in a large part responsible for introducing coffee culture in markets where the preferred cup of hot beverage was tea. But in Australia independent coffee shops and coffee culture was already well established. “Starbucks failed to realise that Australian consumers were brand loyal to their local coffee shops and they were not going leave that and switch to a global brand” (Brook 2016). People preferred drinking coffee in small cafes, with a small and personal community feel and sharing stories with their local barista.

3. Projecting an Arrogant Brand Image

When it first entered the Australian market, Starbucks claimed its aim was “to be the most successful coffee chain in Australia” – which was seen as an “arrogant” statement by the Australian consumers.  Prof. Patterson from Uni. of New South Wales told (2016) that the main issue with Starbucks was that it misunderstood Australia. “I don’t think it has to do with coffee, the problem was the brand”. He added ” Americans assumed that Australians would fall in love with an American brand – and it did not happen. Australians are not anti-American, but they are anti arrogant American brands” (Brook 2016).

4. Aiming Rapid Expansion as Opposed to Organic Growth

Another issue was the fact that the Seattle-based coffee brand didn’t give the Australian consumer the opportunity to really develop an appetite for the brand. Starbucks moved too quickly and expanded too fast in the Australian market – and aimed to grow at a faster rate than its popularity (Turner 2018).

Eight years after opening its first store in Australia and suffering major loss on its operations, Starbucks sacked 700 staff and closed 61 branches across Australia (Brook 2016).

Today, in the Australian coffee market, Gloria Jeans has more than 450 branches in Australia while Coffee Club has 350 outlets. In comparison, Starbucks Australia maintains only 42 stores in Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne areas and caters mainly to tourists who are familiar with the brand.

Nevertheless, Starbucks will not disappear from the Australian market as it needs to maintain outlets in Australia’s major cities to cement its global presence. However, researchers remain sceptical that Australians are going to embrace the joys of a “caramel popcorn pretzel frappuccino” anytime soon.

“Do you want to get a good coffee down the road from a barista you know or from a global brand where no one knows you and you pay an extra dollar? It’s a no-brainer.” (Brook 2016).

The image below indicates the map locations of the remaining Starbucks stores in Australia.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 3.58.43 PM
2018 Starbuck Australia Store Locations (11 stores in Brisbane-Gold Coast; 18 stores in Sydney; 13 stores in Melbourne)

Do you agree with my list?

What do you think is the main reason for Starbucks’ failure in Australia?

Curious to know your thoughts.

Success! You're on the list.


Are you struggling to grow your audience on Instagram? 

I’ve got you covered. 

Download my PDF Instagram checklist and learn how to: 

🔎 Optimize your Instagram profile 
📝 Write better captions
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Brook B. (2016) “Starbucks coffee is quietly expanding in Australia after humiliating retreat eight years ago” [online], available from <; [accessed 10th Nov 2018]

Turner A. (2018) “Why There Are Almost No Starbucks in Australia” [online], available from <; [accessed 9th Nov 2018]

Starbucks Australia (2018) “Starbucks in Australia” [online] available from <; [accessed 9th Nov 2018]

Starbucks (2018) “Starbucks Company Timeline” [online], available from <; [accessed 9th Nov 2018]

AirAsia launching a childcare centre in Sepang, Malaysia

#redQ #airasia #csr

This morning, while I was casually enjoying a coffee at my neighbourhood Starbucks outlet, I was utterly surprised to read in today’s The Star newspaper that AirAsia Bhd has just launched a childcare centre located at RedQ (AirAsia’s  Head Quarters, located in Sepang Malaysia). The initiative was lauded by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah who is also the Minister of Women, Family and Community by saying that AirAsia’s effort was applaudable and that the company was dedicated and passionate about its work. “I hope more private institutions will look into setting up in-house childcare centres”, added the Deputy Prime Minister (The Star 2018).

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.55.46 PM.png
Source: The Star (2018)

My surprise at hearing this news has arisen as almost a year ago (on 23rd July 2017), I was proposing the exact same initiative to AirAsia’s board in my Corporate Social Responsibility Report Board Paper. And yet, today I’m reading that my proposal to AirAsia (and one of the 3 CSR initiatives I proposed) has been materialised by the company and is currently being implemented in association with Krista Education, a childcare operator.

Wow! So, I’m just assuming here that AirAsia never got to read or see my actual proposal – which was based on my own study of the company’s past and current CSR strategies and initiatives – as it’s purpose was only for academic purposes. What a mere coincidence!!! OR WAS IT???

In order to bring back some old memories, I’ve decided to share some screenshots of my original CSR Board Paper and presentation slides which were submitted online to Coventry University (in partnership with INTI International College Subang).

Irregardless whether my paper was intentionally or unintentionally leaked to someone linked to AirAsia, I’ve really enjoyed carrying out this research project and I’m truly glad that at least my suggestions were good enough to be approved and brought to life by AirAsia’s management. I do wish them all the best of luck and I hope their initiative will be able to bring sustainable changes that will positively impact on the Malaysia’s Early Childhood Education environment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Source: Alexandra Ceambur (2017), “AirAsia Corporate Social Responsibility, Board Paper Presentation Slides”

Thank you all for reading!


The Star (2018) “AirAsia sets up childcare centre at Sepang HQ”, Read more at The Star Online



Laissez-Faire Leadership Style – does it work?

What is Laissez-faire Leadership Style?

Laissez-faire leadership style is a radical democratic leadership style where leaders take a “hands-off”approach, leaving all (or majority of) decision making tasks to their employees. This approach has grown in popularity over the last 2 decades and many global firms are using it today despite the fact that researchers have discovered that this management style has the lowest productivity rate among employees. Indeed the philosophy sounds attractive: give employees full freedom and they will be highly motivated, but does it actually work?

“Laissez-faire leadership style: The leader provides little or no direction and gives employees as much freedom as possible. All authority or power is given to the employees and they must determine goals, make decisions, resolve problems on their own” (Khan et al. 2015)

The SEMCO Case Study – Example

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 2.31.52 PM.png
Ricardo Semler at TED Talk (2014) Video link

Ricardo Semler, founder of SEMCO in Brazil, is one of many business leaders that implemented the “hands-off” leadership approach successfully. Following his father’s footsteps he first imposed high controls, rigid processes and long-working hours which demotivated his employees leading to a high staff turnover and low motivation levels. After years of struggling with an authoritative leadership style, in 1990 he implemented a radical change and decided to give his employees more freedom and be less involved in managing the business. Semler defined his new leadership philosophy as follows: “leadership is most effective when the boss is nowhere near the office, nowhere near his employees, in a word gone”.

Semler defined his new leadership philosophy as follows: “leadership is most effective when the boss is nowhere near the office, nowhere near his employees, in a word gone”.

Few highlights of Ricardo Semler’s “hands-off” leadership style include the following:

  • SEMCO offers complete freedom to employees to decide when, what and how the tasks are performed
  • About 3000 SEMCO employees set their own working hours and their salaries.
  • Their supervisors are hired and reviwed by the subordinates.
  • If the employees had spent Saturday afternoon in the office then they are encouraged to spent their Monday morning at the beach.
  • There is no organisational chart as such in the organisation, no corporate value statement, no 5 year plan is implemented as most of the organisation does.
  • The employees are not required to follow any dress code.
  • There are no written rules or policy statements, as SEMCO is quite flexible.

Criticism of Laissez-faire Style

A 2007 survey among Norwegian firms has found that laissez-faire leadership was positively correlated with role conflict, role ambiguity, and conflicts among coworkers (Skogstad et al. 2007).  The results also supported the notion that laissez-faire leadership behavior is a destructive leadership behaviour. Moreover, in laissez-faire style of leadership there is no exchange relationship between leaders and followers. It represents a passive non-transactional style, in which “decisions are delayed, actions postponed, and managerial authority is misused or unutilized” (Skogstad et al. 2007)

Past researchers supported the notion that laissez-faire leadership behavior is a destructive leadership behaviour in forms of employee stress.

Even though the laissez-faire style of leadership has been dismissed by many researchers  as leading to poor employee productivity, there are certain circumstances when this style can be very effective. In those environments where group members are highly skilled and motivated, it can actually produce excellent results. For a example, a laissez-faire leader would thrive in a design field. As team members get to enjoy a great deal of freedom (as opposed to micromanaging), they often feel more inspired and creative.

QUIZ! Find out more about which leadership style you lean towards naturally by taking this quick and easy quiz developed by Mindtools: What’s your leadership style?


Mullins, L. and Christy, G. (2013). Management and organisational behaviour. Harlow: Pearson

Maddux W.W., Swaab R., Tanure B., Williams, E. (2014). Ricardo Semler: A Revolutionary Model of Leadership

Skogstad A., Einarsen S., Torsheim T., Aasland M.S., and Hetland H. (2007) The Destructiveness of Laissez-Faire Leadership Behavior (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Sep 19, 2017].

Why is Ethical Leadership Important?

Increasing Public Awareness of Ethics

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the public awareness and concern with ethical behaviour of organisations has been increasing. With consumers and potential clients more aware of business ethics than ever before, it is important that companies regard ethics as a top priority  and develop a framework and workplace culture that places ethics in high regard.

With the rise of social media platforms, and digital communication the impact of negative publicity is amplified in real time. Consumers and investors alike take a much detailed look at the company’s reputation, culture of ethics and governance before investing. Organisations have much to gain by investing in promoting their company ethics and even use it as a “greenwashing” tactic.

Ford, Pepsi Co., L’Oreal and Starbucks are examples of companies that in the past few years have been at the top of the most ethically perceived companies lists. Ethisphere Institute is one organisation that publishes ratings which allow customers and investors to assess organisational ethical stance on a yearly basis.  Ethisphere’s EQ framework, shown in Figure 2, highlights the main fields by which companies are ranked: ethics compliance (35%), CSR initiatives (20%), ethical leadership and innovation (10%).

Figure 2: Ethical Qualities Framework (Source: Ethisphere 2017)

Corporate Ethical Lapses and CEO Dismissals

Over the past several years, companies have become much more likely to dismiss their CEOs because of a scandal or improper conduct by the CEO — including fraud, bribery, insider trading, inflated resumes, and sexual indiscretions.

  • Globally, trust & confidence in CEOs has been decreasing from 2011 to 2016 (Grande 2016) while CEO dismissals for ethical lapses have increased by an avg. 4%

Figure 3: CEO turnover by region from 2007 to 2016 (Source: Grande 2016)

Shifting Management Paradigms

The shifting management paradigms from stability and uniformity to change and crisis management, demand leaders to find new approaches to respond to the increasing challenges of managing complex organisations. These changes require today’s leaders to evolve to a new mind-set centred around integrity, diversity inclusion, empowerment and collaboration. These continual and rapid changes in business environment have enhanced the need for ethical leadership, replacing the traditional leader which is perceived as a self-centred leader-hero with a more humble leader who empowers his followers and is focused on a higher purpose.

Figure 1: Old vs New Paradigm of Management (Source: Based on Daft and Merlo 2015)

For today’s leaders the responsibility for preventing or minimizing wrongdoing is daunting. The best way to prevent ethical lapses is to build a culture of integrity—and to put in place effective leadership and governance structures, processes and controls that discourage wrongdoing.  Knowing how to organically infuse ethics into everyday business practices and understanding how to communicate the importance of ethical behavior across divisions is a strong top-level leadership skill to develop.

Continue reading “Why is Ethical Leadership Important?”