Ethics develop and change over time

Legend has it that Ulysses was a bit of an outdoor leader! When he returned from the wars of Troy and his other adventures with Cyclops, Sirens and Gods, he apparently hanged a dozen slave girls said to have misbehaved during his 20 year absence. He also did away with the bunch of suitors who had moved into his house to woo his wife. Ulysses was a hero of his time, but he certainly wouldn’t get away with that today. Ethical standards develop and change over time, between different cultures and subcultures.

Common outdoor leadership practices of 20 years ago, such as burying rubbish, lighting large fires, or cutting blazes on trees, are less appropriate today. Because ethically appropriate behaviour changes and leadership circumstances differ, having a set of rules to determine ethical leadership will be of little use. Rules seldom serve all interests and can lead to unthinking, narrow-minded leadership.