In our lives we have chosen our own moral compass.

In our world we meet with people from different cultures and values.

In organizations people with different needs and values has to work and relate to each other. Organizations will not survive the test of time without strong values.

Leaders who actively apply moral values to achieve enduring success, makes their companies great. “For today’s leaders, it is even more clear that moral competence is not a nice to have , it is a must have”.

Compassion is the basis of morality.     Arthur Schopenhauer.

Through my reading of the book; Moral Intelligence, my eyes opened towards the importance of a leaders responsibility and understanding of the people in the organizations. However, we should not take for granted that every leader is capable of understanding moral intelligence, but those who do and involves has a passion for their people show’s their ability of being moral intelligent.

About the authors of this important book; Doug Lennick, works as CEO of Lennick Aberman Group, in addition he works directly with the CEO of Ameriprise Financial, retaining the EVP title and focusing on workforce culture and performance.

Fred Kiel, PH.D; often called ‘father of executive coaching’ because of his pioneering work is cofounder of KRW, International, Inc. He has 30 year’s experience with Fortune 500 executives on building organizational effectiveness through leadership excellence.

The third contributing author; Kathy Jordan who is a psychologist, coach, writer, editor and consultant highly regarded for her inventive and practical approaches to managing strategic change and enhancing business performance.

Moral intelligence is the key-element through this book and the authors show how greater moral intelligence can lead to higher trust and engagement, but also retention and innovation.

Author’s; “The best leaders think we, not I “. They are quite simply, good people who consistently  tap into their inborn disposition to be moral. They follow a moral compass – even when it’s tempting not to”. Also they believe in honesty and see themselves and others. These great leaders are capable of sharing common moral values. ” They show compassion for their fellow humans and know how to forgive others – and just as important – themselves”.

When the author’s are talking about moral intelligence, they describe it as new for the playing field. “Just as emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence are different from one another, moral intelligence is another distinct intelligence”. Moral intelligence describes our personal values, goals, and actions.

Leaders need to be aware of what the author’s call differentiating competencies. Moral intelligence and emotional intelligence are two types of intelligence. The challenge to many corporate leaders is to understand these ‘soft skills’ and see the differentiating.

Daniel Goleman’s books on emotional intelligence, makes us aware of the importance of emotional skills to corporate leaders.

From his book; Focus, The Hidden Driver of  Excellence, Goleman say; ” Empathy in its many forms from simple listening to reading the paths of influence in an organization, shows up more often in leadership competence studies. Most of the competencies for high – performing leaders fall into a more visible category that builds on empathy: relationship strengths like influence and persuasion, teamwork and cooperation, and the like”.

Goleman makes us aware of the importance on managing ourselves and sensing how what we do affects others.

The authors from the book; Moral Intelligence, makes us aware of four principles they think are important and vital for sustained personal and organizational success: integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness.


The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.   Zig Ziglar

Integrity is a key-element of a morally intelligent person, on the other hand, if we lack integrity we lack moral intelligence by definition. We are focused on doing what we know is right.

The integrity competencies include; acting consistently with principles, values, and beliefs. Telling the truth.  Standing up for what is right, and keeping promises.

Telling the truth and leading with openness and honesty in organizations, includes defining reality under challenging circumstances. “When times are tough, leaders need to tell the truth while providing people with real reasons for hope and optimism”.

To be open and honest includes also, performance, the painful truth and standing up for what is right, and keeping promises is of huge importance and proves that we can be trusted to do what we tell to do. Author’s;” Keeping promises usually requires assistance from a few emotional competencies – the self-awareness to recognize the inconsistency between our intentions and actions and the self-control to adopt disciplined work habits that enable us to keep our promises”.

Another important key-element in trust is to honore confidence. The privacy of others is confident and the leader has a big responsibility to keep it that way. Author’s;”When leaders betray confidences, they lose more than the respect of their work associates. They also dry up valuable sources of information because their employees and colleagues learn to withhold sensitive information from a loose-lipped leader”.


The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior.    M. Scott Peck

Responsibility includes; taking responsibility for personal choices, admitting mistakes and failures, and embracing responsibility for serving others.

Glenn Lopis, is a contributor for Forbes and writes about leadership, he say; “Leaders that are self-aware, are clear about their identity and expectations, have the backs of others and can be trusted – they are the ones we instinctively gravitate towards”.

Leaders need to take responsibility for their personal choices and accept that they are accountable for the results of the choices they make. Author’s; “Responsibility is a radical competency because it requires that we accept personal responsibility for everything that we do, even though we each live in a complicated world where bosses, family members and friends all exert pressure on us to act in certain ways”.

If you want to be respected as a leader it includes the willingness to take responsibility when things go wrong. An organization that does not tolerate mistakes, are not showing responsibility. Author’s; “First, admitting personal mistakes helps an organization be healthier in several ways. If you admit you screwed up, this will prevent someone else from being blamed for your mistake . Second,  admitting mistakes creates a bond with other employees who feel that you are more approachable by virtue of your admission of fallibility. Third, if you can admit mistakes, it gives a strong signal of tolerance to the organization,  we all make mistakes”.

Embracing responsibility for serving others.

Glenn Lopis; “The most memorable leaders give you the time that they don’t always have. They recognize that their employees need attention and will find a way to make the time to listen to their concerns and provide insights to the situation at hand”.

If you want employees to be happy and give their knowledge to the organization, leaders need to serve them. Author’s; “Imagine how your employees will respond  if you consistently demonstrate that your primary leadership job is to help employees accomplish their own goals”.

Compassion and Forgiveness.

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.    Confucius

A leader who cares about their employees makes them grow and are helping them achieving their goals. Glenn Lopis; “The leaders that are most grateful for your hard work and efforts will be the most memorable”.

The forgiveness competencies includes, letting go of one’s own mistakes, and letting go of other’s mistakes. Here, the author’s makes us aware of these two forgiveness competencies frequently considered “mirror competencies”, because they are clearly closely related. Author’s; “Some of us are much better at forgiving ourselves than others and vice versa. Many of us are hard on ourselves because of perfectionism. We can let go of other’s mistakes but hold on to our own, sometimes we are our own worst critics”.

Here the author’s makes it clear that effective leaders know that letting go of mistakes – their own and others – clears the way for better future performance.

If we cannot forgive it is impossible to relate to the people in organizations as well as in the private zone.

The moral leader are able to see the good things in people. Author’s; “Even though people are not perfect, and even though they make mistakes, most people have good intentions”.

Moral leaders are good motivators. “Moral leaders accelerate and enhance high performance by actively encouraging everyone in the organization to apply their moral principles to their individual actions while also creating organization – wide policies practices, and reward systems based on moral values”.

About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.      Ernest Hemingway

Inger Lise E. Greger, MSc. Change Management 

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