NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study released by The HOW Institute for Society reports that among U.S. employees, 86% agree that the need for moral leadership is more urgent than ever. The State of Moral Leadership in Business 2020 collected responses from 2,305 employees, managers, and top executives at companies across multiple industries earlier this year. In both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, respondents were emphatic about the need for moral leadership in their organizations, and about its important role in their decision to remain at or leave an organization.
The study found that 46% of respondents would take a pay cut to work for a moral leader while 50% say they would consider leaving their organization if their CEO did not act on a moral issue that they care about. Indeed, employees were 12 times more likely to report plans to leave if their direct managers failed to exhibit moral leadership. The report also identifies a lack of moral leadership among CEOs, with only 8% saying their CEO consistently demonstrates moral leadership behaviors. Nearly half of respondents say their CEO doesn’t consistently demonstrate any of the described moral leadership behaviors. Respondents with managers who show the highest levels of moral leadership were 10 times more likely to claim that teammates speak out when they see something unethical, and 74% of respondents say that their colleagues would do a better job if managers relied more on moral authority than on formal authority.
“Leadership on so many different levels and across spheres – teachers, superintendents, hospital directors, C.E.O.s, elected officials, media, and parents – has never mattered so much. A global health issue quickly became a humanitarian, economic, and unemployment crisis. Critically, it is also a moral crisis forcing leaders to tackle vexing issues and make painful trade-offs. At the same time, we are being confronted with addressing historic inequalities that remain rampant. This realization is enlisting each of us, once and for all, on a journey to achieve true racial justice,” said Dov Seidman, founder and chairman of The HOW Institute for Society.
“This study provides compelling evidence that while moral leadership is in high demand, it remains in short supply,” added Seidman. “And this is especially true in times of crisis, when people naturally turn to authority – to those in charge – for wise guidance, bold action, and hope. Above all, when so many people are willing to put their lives and livelihoods in their leaders’ hands, they expect the whole truth.”
The report found the following three leadership behaviors are especially strongly associated with being recognized as an effective leader during times of crisis:
- Cultivating a sense of hope for the future
- Explaining decisions in the context of the organization's purpose
- Listening and learning from perspectives that challenge assumptions
“Looking at the behaviors identified as particularly effective during a crisis, there is reason to be hopeful,” said Seidman. “Moral leadership means putting people at the center of decisions, seeing them in their full humanity with their unique aspirations and concerns. In the context of business, it means seeing and treating the community at large, employees, customers, suppliers, and shareholders as valued, essential, and coequal constituents of the corporation, where nobody is a means to anyone’s ends. My hope is this study will give leaders a better understanding of the importance of moral leadership and inspire them to take the deliberate and necessary steps to further strengthen their own moral authority and scale moral leadership across their organizations.”
About The HOW Institute for Society
Founded in 2016, The HOW Institute for Society (www.thehowinstitute.org) seeks to build and nurture a culture of moral leadership, principled decision-making and values-based behavior that enables individuals and institutions to meet the profound social, economic, and technological changes of the 21st Century to elevate humanity.