Leaders of organisations today need to add a fourth dimension to their lines of intelligence – a moral perspective.
There has been much emphasis placed on emotional and social intelligence. It is continuously being seen as more and more essential along with cognitive intelligence. There has also been a lot of work done in organisations to create a vision and determine values. However, the importance of living those values in everything we do, from our recruitment of staff to the advertising of our products, is what gives the organisation and its values credibility. When these values conform to universal principles which transcend cultural, ethical, religious and gender differences, then they relate to the fourth dimension of moral intelligence.
In their book, “Moral Intelligence”, Doug Lennick and Fred Kiel stated that the principles most often used by effective leaders are: Integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness.
Integrity is the one value almost every organisation has up on their wall. It is often believed to merely mean being honest, or rather, simply telling the truth. However, it really translates to being true – to yourself, your beliefs and your values. It means keeping your promises and standing up for what is right, even when it proves difficult to do so.
Responsibility means holding ourselves accountable. When faced with a problem, asking ourselves how we have contributed to the problem we are faced with. It also means admitting our mistakes and failures, asking for forgiveness and righting our own wrongs.
The principles of compassion and forgiveness are less usual, but we are wired to be empathetic and care for others. The problem is that we have, unfortunately, become desensitised over the years. Waking up to our focus on others will evoke our compassion. We are not always perfect and make mistakes, so forgiving ourselves and others is the only way to move forward.
Imagine where this world could be if every leader of every country espoused these values.
This post was written by Merridy Edgson