Moral Leadership

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Moral Leadership 1

Moral Leadership Tracey Marshall Canada Christian College

Advanced Dynamics in Leadership Dr. Clarence Duff April 12, 2012

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The distinction between right and wrong concerning principles is called morality. It is morality which helps to govern people whether as an individual, in a family, community, or organization. Within the last century, morality has been closely linked to leadership by identifying a style called “Moral Leadership”. In fact, it is within this last decade, that the continual confusion over true moral reasoning has caused an ethical collapse of massive proportions within the seven spheres of influence in our society. These spheres are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion. These have all been affected by the lack of true moral leadership.1 (Hillman, 2011, p. 7)

Society as a whole, has experienced a paradigm shift. It is with an inflated capacity of the ego that some leaders use as their power to influence and gain success.

A problem that leaders are facing within every sphere of influence is the distinction of success. One may view themselves as being successful because they are a good leader. This lends to the question, “Does being a good leader automatically make you a moral leader?” 2 (Rhodes, 2006, p. 5) Perhaps it does. Of course that depends on the system of reasoning used to define their decision-making process.

There are many ethical systems that people use to characterize their behaviour. However, not every system allows the authentic self (true spirit) to be revealed, and thereby individuals lead with ego and ultimately self-interest. In addition, it should be pointed out what cannot be disputed: the foundation of morality, which are behaviours such as integrity, honesty, truth and

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virtue. What is in question is the following: (a) the source of the behaviours and (b) the conceptualization of reasoning.

In writing this paper one hopes to establish what makes a moral leader and identify ethical systems that help to govern moral leadership.

The making of a moral leader is established through both nurture and nature. “In 1956, psychologist Erik Erikson developed the Eight Stages of Development. This is a socialization process consisting of eight phases. These phases were primarily a studied discussion of the stages of basic human moral and psychological growth. According to Erikson, this developmental process consisted of a variety of stages and each one relates to how a child learns to develop morals, ethics and rationale. The stages begin in infancy and are barely becoming aware of the world around you. They continue until the individual has reached the final phase where the mature adult will either have developed a positive or negative view of himself. If he was loved and nurtured growing up, then this phase of his life should give him a feeling of happiness and a sense of pride. If the child was not nurtured and loved, than this is the phase of her life where she has developed a sense of negativity toward herself, her peers and the world around her.”3 (Gutierrez, 2011)

Every situation speaks like a teacher within people’s lives. This is especially true when it comes to leadership. The mark of a true leader is seen as he/she is able to take the lessons of life, negative and positive, and allow them to illuminate their course of success. As a course is made

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clear, the potent combination of the divine nature within and the environment that people are born into begins to shape the rational used to govern their life. As the physical body matures over the course of years, so does the moral development of individuals. A leader’s moral compass is established in three areas: self-awareness, self-disclosure and social awareness.

Self-awareness is a maturity that shows an individual is conscious of one’s own self. “It is the top level of...
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