Moral leadership is not about moralizing. It’s not simply taking a stand on social or political issues, although that can be part of it.
Moral leadership is a framework and set of principles informing leaders in how they approach everything they do: how they interact with others, how they make decisions, how they manage and conduct themselves. Formal authority can be conferred with a promotion, or even seized, but moral authority is earned every day through these behaviors.
We measured the presence of moral leadership by asking whether or not people observed 43 specific behaviors in their managers and executives. And there’s a correlation between moral leadership and results. Executives and managers seen as moral leaders are nine times more likely to be regarded as effective in achieving business goals and seven times more likely to encourage innovation.
Unfortunately, few companies are seeing these benefits. Only 7% of respondents say their leaders consistently behave like moral leaders and, alarmingly, 59% say their managers and executives exhibit few or none of the behaviors of moral leaders.