Moral leadership and moral authority are qualities people want in their workplaces, as they believe morality improves outcomes and could overcome persistent “social and political divides in the US,” writes Dov Seidman of The HOW Institute for Society, which published a report on moral leadership. “Imparting a cultural shift in moral leadership may start with role models at the top, but it must ultimately be designed into the systems and processes that govern how an organization operates,” Seidman writes.



  • The new State of Moral Leadership Report suggests moral leadership is in high demand but short supply;
  • Moral authority as opposed to formal authority alone can improve employee and business performance;
  • Managers that demonstrate higher levels of moral leadership also have stronger connections with colleagues and tend to maintain moral behaviours during crises.

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.

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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.