To be an effective business leader, it’s important to not only understand the broad processes and operations that create growth and drive commerce but also the value of human resources ethics. To be a successful human resources leader, you must understand both the basic principles of best business practices while also being proactive in order to strategically develop your influence within an organization. In the field of human resources, ethics serve as guidelines for analyzing what is right and wrong in a specific situation. Here are five of the most important traits of an ethical human resources leader.

1. The ability to set a good example.

One of the most defining features of ethics in human resources is that the individual is seen to act from his or her own well-developed set of ethical principles. In other words, others within the company and the community must see the human resources leader consistently setting a good example for others to follow. The steady force of this attitude trickles down over time, becoming embedded in the culture of the organization. Ethical leaders create a moral matrix that employees internalize and operate by on a daily basis.

2. The ability to avoid groupthink.

Groupthink, or the practice of making decisions or thinking as a group in order to discourage individual responsibility or creativity has no place in ethical leadership. Good leaders, or those with the imagination and intelligence to create a compelling vision of the future, have the ability to bring individuals with them who can help turn this vision into a reality. Human resources ethics also involve the ability to be action-oriented, display unshakable integrity, be trustworthy and show resilience in the face of setbacks while continuously treating people with respect and not as units of production.

3. The ability to remain selflessness, no matter what.

Ethical leaders are not selfish, and they keep in mind the greater good at all times. In other words, they may implement a strategy or technique within the company that creates more work for them, but they know, ultimately, that this decision is best for the organization. They recognize that the company does not exist for them; they exist to help the company meet and exceed its goals.

4. The ability to welcome challenges.

Having subordinates challenge their judgement, disagree with them and call them out means that ethical leaders must have great tolerance and understanding. These individuals understand that it’s all part of the continuous improvement of the organization, and that they can’t use their position within the company to dare someone to challenge their authority. Ethical leaders don’t identify too closely with their positions in human resources management; instead, they cultivate successors and know when it’s time to let someone knew pick up the reigns.

5. The ability to take responsibility.

Ethical human resources leaders accept that they are either indirectly or directly responsibility for everything that happens within the company. Whether it has to do with salary, employee training, retention, employee morale and other aspects of the organization, they understand that finger-pointing and blame-shifting have no place in a successful business.

Ultimately, good ethics means good business. The organization that does the right thing, and is seen doing the right thing, will be the one that prospers in today’s more accountable and connected world. Leaders accept the backlash against their unorthodox practices, defy groupthink, are courageous and know when to take risks and when to play it safe. The community expects moral behavior of its leaders, and human resources ethics is no exception.