Moral leadership characteristics are developed over time and influenced by upbringing, life experience, immediate social norms and training. While some believe that leaders are born, there is a great deal of discussion that states that leaders can be developed. This article highlights some of the characteristics that are inherent in leaders of strong moral character. While some can be developed, all characteristics are a result of background and development over time.
The characteristic of integrity is defined as one's ability to be honest, fair, and accept the consequences of all actions which fall under a person's responsibility, regardless of who committed the action. Integrity is a difficult characteristic to maintain but easy to identify. Leaders who embrace integrity as a valued characteristic admit fault when their subordinates make mistakes and give credit to their subordinates when they succeed.
Selfless service consists of acts that are committed for the betterment of society without regards to self. Such selfless acts are generally not put on public display so they are difficult to recognize. A leader who practices true selfless service is promoted by his subordinates as an individual who should be followed. The leader is talked about in a positive manner and referred to as hard worker who will do anything for anybody.
A strong leader of moral character is able to make decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions. Too often, a leader makes decisions but is quick to find fault in others when the consequences of his decisions result in a negative outcome. Correlating to integrity, decision-making requires that a leader look at all situations honestly and with an unbiased point of view. When making decisions involving people, a leader of moral character is just and consistent when considering what actions must be taken. This is especially true when considering disciplinary actions.
A leader of moral character has personal values that she will not compromise. These are simple things that make the person who she is today. A good leader presents these values to others through her daily interactions and holds true to these values in all situations, not just when she is in front of an audience. Personal values, which can consist of relationships, commitment to parenthood or education, vary according to the individual.
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Moral Character; Kevin Timpe; Oct. 2008
- Parenthood in America; Fostering Goodness: Teaching Parents to Facilitate Children's Moral Development; M. Berkowitz and J. Grych; 1998
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Moral Leadership: Too Much of a Good Thing?; Bruce B. Buttle
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
- The Leadership Code of Ethics
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