“Ethics makes good business sense,” Millie Bradley told the audience at the Scheller College of Business’ Impact Speaker Series. As ExxonMobil’s former chief auditor, Bradley was responsible for ensuring the integrity of the company’s controls and procedures as well as training leaders to foster ethical decision-making. Her key takeaway? Business leaders must “set the tone from the top” when it comes to ethics.
In her 34 years of service with ExxonMobil, Mrs. Bradley progressed through various management positions in an industry rife with ethical challenges. She explained her approach to ethics training, which, she noted, can be applied to companies of all sizes and across all industries, emphasizing that “creating fear will not lead to good results. It will cause ethical issues because fearful people hide their mistakes.” Bradley instead suggested a leadership style that values open, honest communication and a commitment by team leaders to work in partnership with team members to resolve issues as they are identified.
Bradley is excited that today’s students are learning the importance of ethics, as well as the mechanics for ensuring ethical decision-making early in their careers. She views the core competencies of servant leadership – honesty, social awareness, team efficacy, communication, and management style – as a guiding light for the business leaders of tomorrow. Based on her insight and experience, it is these competencies that help leaders prevent ethical breakdowns in organizations.
Organized by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE), an interdisciplinary institute that encourages values-based leadership and socially responsible entrepreneurship at Scheller College, Impact is a weekly series that brings successful leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors, as well as innovative entrepreneurs, to campus for an authentic discourse with students and staff. The main goal of the series is to show students the breadth and depth of opportunities and challenges they will face in their careers; to widen their horizons and understanding of important issues; and to engage the community, on and