Lessons In Leadership: Ethos

By C. Ross Berry on August 24, 2020

What do Greek Philosophers have to do with your career?

Originally described by Aristotle as “persuasion through character”, the word “ethos” is defined today as “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution”.

Said another way, every individual, community, or corporation has a distinct ethos, or values inherently embedded in their DNA. Through life’s experiences, beliefs, etc. an individual is going to bring a certain ethos to any employment situation. What is often ignored is that organizations, communities and corporations can also possess an ethos that is characteristic of their values.

Ideally, there should be an intentionality about identifying and understanding your ethos (whether you are the individual or the entity) so that you can easily define and articulate it to others. When this occurs in a business, a firm can easily align itself with the right people whether it is hiring employees, contracting vendors or determining target markets. If entities understood their ethos better, it would provide them more clarity in decision making.

Similarly, an individual who has clearly defined their own ethos can make career decisions with more confidence, choosing to align themselves with corporations who share similar characteristics. This in turn can lead to finding success and fulfilment in the workplace.