Moral leadership inspires exceptional organizational performance
Moral leaders are obsessed with how work gets done and not just the end results.
They do this because it often allows them to see and make the right and principled decision, even if inconvenient. They also do this, though, based on an appreciation for the paradox of success. Like the paradox of happiness, the more we pursue success for its own end, the more it tends to allude us.
Therefore, ethical leaders don’t demonstrate moral leadership in order to generate success. Rather, they demonstrate ethical leadership because it is the right thing to do and as an expression of faith that it creates the space for success to find them.
The research in the December 2022 State of Moral Leadership in Business report confirms that the imperative for moral leadership is more urgent than ever. Data collected from 2,500 employees across a variety of sectors in the United States demonstrates a deep desire to work with and for moral leaders.
Employees with CEOs in the top-tier compared to the bottom-tier for moral leadership are five times more likely to strongly agree that the organization has satisfied customers, six times more likely to strongly agree that their organization is poised to improve its business results in the next year, and eight times more likely to strongly agree that the organization adapts quickly to change. Moral leadership also fuels the engine for this success. 94% of employees with managers in the top-tier for moral leadership strongly agree that their manager is effective at achieving business goals.
Moral leadership inspires deep loyalty.
We also find that those reporting to moral leaders are far less likely to be looking for a new position at a different organization. This is especially relevant as companies consider effective responses to the Great Resignation and the ‘quiet quitting’ trend, and given the turbulent economic times.
In a fused, morally-activated world, where the business of business is often the business of community, organizations that win are those that compete on deep human connections. You can copy an organization’s product and service, but you can’t copy its ethos. And with an increasingly hybrid workplace and low friction labor market, moral leaders understand that while it’s always good to be able to pay your people more not less, it’s the human glue of relationships that inspires their colleagues’ loyalty.
While there are seemingly a large number of employees actively looking for a new position at another organization at the moment, this is much more prevalent for employees who are not reporting to a top-tier moral leader, 33% versus 19%. Likewise, 98% of employees with CEOs in the top-tier for moral leadership are likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work.