Eagle Communications - Leadership For The Future


Moral Courage & Courageous Principled-Action
Many contemporary leaders are morally developed, have strong value systems, and are influential with their followers. The capacity for putting their principles into practice where they are willing and able to stand up for their ideas, policies, projects, and people, as well as defy the status quo of immoral, unethical, and illegal people, policies, and practices, sets these contemporary leaders apart as Distinguished Leaders.

Moral courage is always principle-driven, other-focused, and long-term focused. It is the capacity to overcome fear, shame, and humiliation; to reject evil, to denounce injustice, and to defy immoral or imprudent orders; it is the willingness and capacity to stand up to the disapproval of others opposed to those actions.

Contemporary ethical dilemmas are rarely dilemmas of Right vs. Wrong, but are often Right vs. Right dilemmas. Determining which side has the higher claim to rightness often requires leaders to exercise deep ethical reasoning.

Inhibitors to the development of moral courage and the exercise of courageous principled-action include, but are not limited to: working in dysfunctional cultures, working with dysfunctional leaders, an overriding desire to be liked, foolhardiness and timidity, redefining deviant behaviors (denial), misdirected altruism (manipulative), excessive reflection, bystander apathy, GroupThink, and valuing others differently (which reduces the obligation to help).

The five attributes of Morally Courageous people include: greater confidence in principles rather than in personalities, high tolerance for ambiguity, exposure, and personal loss, acceptance of deferred gratification and simple rewards, independence of thought, and formidable persistence and determination.

Ultimately, Distinguished Leaders understand that the cost of inaction is often higher than the cost of action (silence, conformity, collusion, collaboration, and cohesion).