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What is Leadership Ethos?

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Instructor: Beth Loy

Dr. Loy has a Ph.D. in Resource Economics; master's degrees in economics, human resources, and safety; and has taught masters and doctorate level courses in statistics, research methods, economics, and management.

Examine leadership ethos to understand how the combination of a leader's logic and passion is important to an organization. Define terms such as ethos, logos, and pathos. Discover more about the collective ethos and discuss the role of ethos in persuasion. Updated: 01/20/2022

What Is Ethos?

As CEO of Bluebird Bottleworks, which employs over 40% of the county's citizens, A.J. has a position of very strong influence in his community. In A.J.'s capacity, his word goes a long way. Often, A.J. doesn't even sign contracts. He does a lot of his business locally with just a simple handshake. A.J. has a very strong ethos, and his credibility is beyond reproach.

Leadership ethos is based on the premise that someone like A.J. can get people to do things. In other words, they are persuaded by A.J.'s influence to move forward with a course of action. Say, for example, A.J. wants his staff to become involved in a charity event. If only a few employees participate, A.J.'s ethos would be very weak. If, however, many of the Bluebird employees become involved, we can determine that A.J.'s ethos is very strong. His employees believe in him, his mission, and the collective ethos of supporting the event.

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  • 0:04 What Is Ethos?
  • 1:00 What Is the Collective Ethos?
  • 2:35 Role of Ethos in Persuasion
  • 3:30 Lesson Summary
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What Is the Collective Ethos?

A collective ethos is based on the beliefs of a collective group, like a community. For example, every workplace is a community, having its own beliefs and acting upon those beliefs. Some workplaces are very stiff and regimented. Others are very loose and open. In the case of Bluebird Bottleworks, the company believes in giving back to the community. Another company might believe in poaching small businesses, reducing environmental regulation, or making a quick profit. The collective ethos of Bluebird is to invest in the local community.

A collective ethos is important for a leader because someone like A.J. must communicate effectively with his employees. Having a positive influence is what distinguishes A.J. from other less successful business leaders. A.J. essentially transmits his beliefs to his employees through his actions. A.J. is the first one to be at the charity event. He helps organize before, during, and after the event. Being such a visible leader shows employees that he doesn't just talk about being involved, he is involved.

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