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Fortune magazine, in their September 15, 2017 issue, published an article by Dov Seidman entitled "Four Pillars of Moral Leadership." It is based on the guiding precept that while the rules of engagement in business seem to be ever-changing, there are basic rules of moral leadership that stand the test of time. The following is based on the shortened version which is posted here.


1.   Are Driven by Purpose

2.   Inspire and Elevate Others

3.   Are Animated by both Courage and Patience

4.   Keep Building Muscle


Driven by Purpose  

More today than ever, the millennial generation demands from their work what is worthy, valuable and noble – connected to human progress or the betterment of the world. Essentially, why do we do what we do? It is the Moral Leader’s job to help define the organization’s purpose and to share that vision with everyone in the organization. 

Inspire and Elevate Others

Those with moral authority understand that what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them, are two very different things. For example, we might be able to demand honesty as a value in the organization but loyalty, by comparison, must be inspired. What should employees be loyal to… the purpose, the mission, or the vision of the organization? In order to accomplish the gaining of loyalty, decisions need to be made with the consideration of others, not just of one’s self. 

Animated by both Courage and Patience

Moral Leaders focus on doing the next right thing, instead of the next thing right. It takes more than intelligence and competence, it takes courage. It takes courage to speak out about what is right or what is a larger truth, especially when it creates risk for a leader. Courage alone isn’t enough though. Think of patience as a way of extending trust to others by allowing them the chance to consider broader, longer-term outcomes of an action. Having moral authority empowers leaders and allows others to be loyal and to want to follow their leaders.

Keep Building Muscle

Moral Leaders continue to build muscle by wrestling with questions of right and wrong, fairness and justice, and what works to serve others and what doesn’t. Their moral authority is enhanced when they frame issues by how their own actions impact the greater good of their team and their organization. 

Moral Leadership is an important part of the shared journey… especially in this 21st Century. It makes the world a better place, and helps your organization align its role in the business and local community with the moral fiber of your team. And that is a worthy journey!


The above-referenced article is a shortened version of "Four Pillars of Moral Leadership" – the full version is available in Fortune’s "Change the World" issue dated September 15, 2017.