Moral Intelligence Business

Figure 1Every CEO likes to think he or she displays complete integrity as a leader. When investors or employees think otherwise there can be unwelcome valuation consequences.

Think of a mentor or fellow executive that’s had a profound impact on you. Chances are, they demonstrated integrity, honesty and good moral character. They did more than just talk about the importance of integrity – they also acted with decency, morality and honor. Now, think of someone that “talked the talk, ” but didn’t “walk the walk.” Perhaps they spoke about the importance of integrity, but their actions were out of alignment with what they’d said. The disconnect between what they said and how they acted may have also had an impact on you – a negative impact, that is.

Integrity is all about the match between what you say and how you behave, and whether your actions match your words. If you’re like most people, you probably think you’re a “stand-up” kind of person, with integrity and a good moral compass. However, others may not judge you as kindly. You may think you’re engaging in “just a bit of innocent spin” when you say one thing and then do another, but it may come off to others as dishonest.

We’re all masters at self-deception, and people tend to believe their own lies. This is so common that academic researchers have a name for it: “attribution error.” This is where someone takes credit for successes, but attributes failures to others or the environment.

As the CEO, you must lead by example. Moral leaders – who exhibit integrity and honesty – tend to have more successful, motivated, productive and moral teams. Immoral leaders – who are dishonest, cruel or deceitful – have higher turnover, unmotivated teams, unhappy employees and customers and, ultimately, reduce shareholder value. The differentiator is moral intelligence.

Moral intelligence is our mental capacity to apply universal human principles to our personal values, goals, and actions. Integrity is the trademark of a moral leader. While cognitive (IQ) and technical intelligence are important in your role as CEO, moral intelligence is significantly more important because moral intelligence directs the other intelligences and provides meaning. The implementation of moral intelligence can profoundly – and positively – impact your business.

Integrity and the Workforce

In our ongoing research on moral intelligence, we’ve discovered that low integrity CEOs and their investors pay a high price. Integrity is only one of the dimensions of moral intelligence we write about in our book, Moral Intelligence 2.0, but it’s essential in today’s global economy. A brand’s longtime, positive reputation can be lost overnight when stakeholders conclude that the CEO is lying to them.

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What is business without morality?

An unethical pratice. Generally more profitable