It is an axiomatic truth that morality is to leadership what the soul is to the body or what conscience is to man.
Although no one theory nor approach can subsume the complexities of leadership or give an all-encompassing theory to that effect, yet the word "Leader" in the ordinary course of events, is someone who shows the way as well as guide and influence the actions of others by way of example. While the word "Morality" on the other hand, inherently imply the system or code that we humans employ to differentiate between right and wrong. This codes could be sourced or derived from a number of factors such as culture, religion, philosophies and upbringing.
We are thus in search for ethical leadership predicated on moral values. This quest to ascertaining what the right thing is, has proven somewhat elusive and difficult in the face of competing cultures, Religions, philosophies etc.
Philosophers around the world have debated the meaning of morality for centuries. It thus requires introspection, critical excogitation and some roboust dialogue with diverse groups.
However subjective and ethical the philosophy of morality is I.e. According to a particular philosophy, culture, religion etc. Its fundamental ethos should be that which upholds the dignity and liberty of man universally.
Moral leadership against this background is an act of influencing or guiding other on the basis of standards that are considered universally ethical or good. It involves leading in a manner that respect the right and dignity of others.
A leader if he is to be effective, must have the ability to persuade others. If there is no persuation there is simply no leadership. And in order to be able to persuade others to follow a course of action, a leader must have personal integrity. Thus, a moral leader absolutely must be a good example, because if he can not be trusted, he can not lead. He is a leader who's authenticity can not be called into question. Hence, an authentic leader.
It's against this background Seneca, a reknowed Philosopher rightly said " noble example stir us up to noble actions". The wisest of the ages have affirmed that leaders must be men of moral integrity. They hold that the duties of a leader includes the responsibility for ensuring standard of moral and ethical conducts. Leaders who are moral are people oriented,and also are aware of how their decisions impact others. They thus employ their social power to serve the greater good instead of of self. I.e. (Non sibi sed omnibus) not for self but for all.
Moral leaders bring their values and ethics to the acquaintace of their followers by preaching them through their actions. Thus, practising what they preach. It was in this regard Nelson Mandel remarkably said "a good head and a good heart are always a formidible combination". Thus, when a leader is morally sound and has the good interest of the people at heart, his leadership can be unmistakably taken for a moral and authentic leadership. Leadership that empasizes building leader's legitimacy through honest relationship with followers who value their input and are built on an ethical foundation.
Generally, moral leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openess. By building truth and generating enthusiastic and optimistic support from their surbordinates, moral leaders are able to improve individual and team performance.
Moral leaders can be found in business, as well as other areas, such as politics. A paradigm against the political background, evidencing what moral leadership is all about is the leadership of late Nelson Mandel (of blessed memory) both as a revolutionary leader of the ANC against the apartheid regime of South Africa and as the first democratic president his country. As well as other leadership role he played ex-officio. Mandela was a leader who out of the goodness of his heart stood firmly and took his country from the extremes of apartheid through to democracy with a great deal of perspiration and self sacrifice. Mahatma Gandi (1869-1948) a prominent leader and freedom fighter of India nationalism is another good enough example against the background of moral leadership.
It is practically by all account that moral leadership includes these distinctive traits viz:
•Self - Awareness: An ongoing process of reflection and re-examination by the leader of his or her own strenght, weakness and vakues.
•Balanced Processing: Solicitation by the leader of opposing viewpoints and fair minded consideration of those view points.
•Internationalized Moral Perspective: A positive ethical foundation adhered to by the leader in his or her relationship and decisions that is resistant to outside preasures.
As a matter of fact, deontologically, moral reasoning provides a sufficient ground for morally attractive leadership.
It is however pathetically truthful that it's no walk in the park to come by such calibre of leadership in this day and age, especially in the third world countries such as Nigeria (my father land) where the so called 'leaders' are merely a shadow of what they profess and where it's relatively easier for a carmel to pass through the eye of a needle than to find leaders who's leadership are predicated upon ethical values and moral correctitude. Worse yet is the perennial "malnutrition" and flagrant disregard far and wide for ethical correctitude and virtues among the leader and the youths, the country's posterity leaders.
The aforesaid leaves me with a conclusive question. What would be the fate of a world where the pillars of morality upon which the act of leadership is super-imposed were to crack?
One would be conspicuously economical with the truth to deny moral leadership its indispensable role for a better world and as an elixir for the innumerable carnages and sufferings from inceassant maladministrations, crisis and wars that has and yet is plaguing the world and humanity.