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Why moral leadership matters now more than ever


Human systems can’t function without formal authority, whether it’s the President of the US, a CEO or a school principal, but what makes organizations really work is when leaders occupying those formal positions have moral authority too. While formal authority can be seized, won, or bestowed; moral authority must be earned by who you are and how you lead.

In a reshaped world, formal authority is less potent. Only moral authority can build trust, inspire colleagues, create meaning and help people imagine a better future. But can moral authority be quantified and studied?


The new State of Moral Leadership Report, which includes data from 1,500 individuals working in business and highlights the critical role moral leadership can play within organizations. The report provides further evidence of the imperative for moral leadership. Leaders can no longer hope to scale shareholder value without scaling shared values. Mission and margin, profit and principle, success and significance are now inextricably linked.

Data from the report suggests the following:

  • Moral leadership is in high demand but short supply;

  • Managers that demonstrate higher levels of moral leadership have stronger connections with colleagues;

  • Moral leadership increases business performance;

  • Professional development opportunities are not doing enough to foster moral leadership.

The research signals a call to action: organizations can and must invest in fostering a culture of moral leadership.


The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified and expedited this need. We are seeing an unprecedented health, humanitarian and economic crisis, played out, for the first time, on social media, where visceral fear, panic and misinformation spread instantly and widely. These global crises have combusted to create a moral crisis, confronting us with vexing issues, profound dilemmas and painful tradeoffs. In times of crisis, people naturally look to those in authority for answers, guidance, action and hope.

Read More at www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/02/why-moral-leadership-matters-now-more-than-ever

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