Moral leadership is the need of the hour. American author, columnist and businessman Dov Seidman says, “The combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the wave of global protests against systemic racism have illuminated the deep need for moral leadership in our world today.” Justifying his statement, a recent US survey shows 86% of respondents—which includes executives, managers and employees from various industries—cited moral leadership as an important business need. But, what is moral leadership? What are its defining characteristics? Let’s find out.


  1. What Is Moral Leadership?

  2. Characteristics Of Moral Leadership

  3. Moral Leadership Examples

  4. Maximize Growth

What Is Moral Leadership?


Moral leadership refers to a leader’s conduct that exemplifies strong moral values, selflessness and integrity. Decision-making in moral leadership is guided by an inherent ethical system and moral purpose. Self-disciplined, compassionate and responsible, moral leaders prefer to lead and inspire others by setting an example and establishing moral goals.

Proper workplace ethics are a core component of a thriving organizational culture. An organization that has a set code of ethics in place benefits from motivated employees and better performance. Ethical behavior in business leaders gives way to moral leadership. Moral leadership in professional ethics emphasizes honesty, trustworthiness and reliability. Such a leader doesn’t abuse power; they’re just, impartial and prepared to put organizational needs before their own.

Characteristics Of Moral Leadership


Now that we know the meaning of moral leadership, let’s explore a few defining characteristics of moral leadership in professional ethics:

1. Emotional Intelligence

One of the most significant characteristics of moral leadership is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as an individual’s ability to read, understand and manage their own emotions while also recognizing and influencing the emotions of people around them. Moral leaders have a high degree of emotional intelligence. They’re positive thinkers who are adept at resolving conflicts among team members, coaching or mentoring employees and fostering a culture of collaboration in the workplace.

2. Integrity

A core characteristic of moral leadership in professional ethics is integrity. Moral leaders demonstrating integrity are honest and dependable. They honor their commitments and follow through on their promises—their actions consistently match their words. Because they hold themselves to a high ethical standard, they stay away from office politics, strive to be fair in all their undertakings and are rarely involved in corrupt practices.

3. Driven By Values

Moral leadership means understanding how your own principles and values align with those of your organization and staying true to them while making important decisions. When business leaders embody the values an organization stands for and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions—both good and bad—they inspire their team members to do the same.

Moral leadership in professional ethics is fundamental to boosting employee morale and establishing a healthy atmosphere of respect, trust and transparency at work. The essential meaning of moral leadership is promoting employee engagement, increasing productivity and enhancing brand image by teaching employees to be accountable, responsible and honest. 

Moral Leadership Examples


Moral leaders have a strong sense of self and are open-minded individuals who are willing to listen and consider diverse perspectives. Rarely do they impose their own opinions on their team members. To understand moral leadership better, let’s look at a few examples of moral leadership:

  • Communicating standards: Communicating established organizational values and an ethical code of conduct to employees is one of the best examples of moral leadership
  • Displaying courage: Being acutely aware of the values you believe in and having the courage to live by them even in challenging workplace situations is among the prominent examples of moral leadership
  • Avoiding bias: Moral leadership steers clear of favoritism and bias. A moral leader rises above their own limiting beliefs and treats all their team members equally, irrespective of race, religion or gender
  • Promoting transparency: Practicing transparency in the workplace is one of the significant examples of moral leadership. A moral leader keeps their employees in the loop about business developments and doesn’t mislead or blindside them

Moral leaders hold all their employees to the same ethical standard, take a stand against ethical violations and promote a culture of unity and inclusion at work. Research shows employees who work under moral leaders display a greater sense of loyalty toward their organizations and are better performers.

Maximize Growth


Business leaders who understand what moral leadership is and demonstrate moral leadership are capable of driving positive change not only within their organization but also in society as a whole. Harappa’s Leading Self course can be your ultimate guide to becoming a moral leader and maximizing growth. This leadership and management course will help you improve your performance by overcoming internal and external obstacles holding you back from realizing your true potential.

With frameworks such as Balcony and Dance Floor, Performance Equation and Iceberg Model, you’ll learn to balance action with awareness, fulfill your potential by reducing interferences and identify and overcome limiting beliefs. You’ll develop a growth mindset, recognize areas of improvement, acquire new skills and abilities, venture out of your comfort zone and embrace new opportunities for growth and learning. Want to transform into the best possible version of yourself? Sign up today for Harappa’s Leading Self course!

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