The world is formed by integrated and tiny units of people living together as family, community, village, society and so on. Each of these units is answerable to a leader. There are different types of leadership, but my focus is on Moral Leadership. This particular type can be found anywhere; whether it is the Business Sector, Political Sector, Educational Sector and /or other affairs of life.
Nevertheless, what is Moral Leadership? I shall define the two words before joining them together for a unified definition.
Moral is etymologically gotten from the Greek word “mor” which means “custom”. That is, the standard developed by our culture. Moral is concerned with goodness or badness of human character or behavior, or with the distinction between right and wrong. It is also concerned with accepted rules and standard of human behavior. Leadership on the other hand is being in a position of power and authority. It is also the ability to guide, direct and influence people. Thus, Moral Leadership (Ethical Leadership) is a type of leadership that involves leading in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of others.
So, what does Moral Leadership mean to me? It means leadership based on didactic principles or morality. Moral leaders tend to fight after the good of the people, making the world a better place, caring for the environment, ensuring a high standard of ethical conducts. Also moral leaders are always people-oriented, that is, whatever decision they take, they are always aware of its impact on the people. They are never elected but always rise up to the occasion maybe out of suppressed anger or feelings at the conditions of the people they are looking up to or are looking up to them. Most times, Moral Leaders are considered immoral with their visions and dreams. This often leads to criticism and distaste. They get to be honored or praised upon the actualization of their dreams or vision (but that is if it for the good of the society) or upon their death.
Now, what do I think? I think Moral Leadership involves people (leaders) that show a level of trustworthiness, good influence, high repute, tempered or checkered egos, nobility, rectitude, visionary and above all, people-oriented.
The next question is examples of Moral Leadership worldwide? There are numerous examples of Moral Leadership worldwide which can be seen in persons such as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jnr., Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, Mary Slessor, etc but I will restrict myself to three.
The first example is, Martin Luther King Jnr. He is an epitome of Moral Leadership because he was never elected but rose to the occasion of fighting for equality of all men both Whites and Blacks. His reasons were all noted in this speech “I Have a Dream”. He believed that rights to a Whiteman should not be a feat to a black man but fundamental. Thereafter, the people starting advocating that the emancipation proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln be enacted and considered because the color of a skin does not make one less than human. His vision and dream was fulfilled during his lifetime but the United States and the world will continue to remember him as a Moral Leader.
The second example is, Abraham Lincoln. In his case, he was elected to be the leader of the people but he went an extra mile by fighting for the rights of the people, the dignity of man and the sanctity of livelihood. He stood his grounds by advocating that the slaves should be freed because they are also humans and not lesser animals that could be bought and owned. Although, his dream led to the civil war and to his assassination, it proved a point. His emancipation proclamation and his three “Rs” after the civil war immortalize his name.
The third example is, Nelson Mandela. Words can never be enough to define him, express him or praise him. I have not seen a Leader whom after his imprisonment for twenty-seven years will still preach forgiveness and a democratic country. His noble nature and rectitude goes to show that his type is rare to find. In fact, he is recognized worldwide as a Leader par excellence. Upon his death, the world stood still to mourn the man that had the description of morals written all over him.
Another question would be examples of Moral Leadership from your Local Community. I cannot say that the Moral Leadership in my local community can be equated or assessed the same level with Moral Leaders worldwide. But a notable instant from my community which happens to be Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government of Anambra State Nigeria, decided to fight and to avoid being trampled upon by the people from another community, Nnewi. The people from the latter town were into colonizing neighboring towns in other to have greater land mass and apprentices but my community refused because their peaceful nature was not used to the rowdy nature of the latter community. This little thing led to a war that cost several lives. In the end, my community won and set the pace for other communities already colonized to become autonomous. It was not a big feat for the fallen heroes but for the next generation which is ours, their battle field remained a monument.
The last question is my Personal Experience. At this junction, I may not have exhibited acts of Moral Leadership. I think I am more of a learner trying to grasp the much I can before exhibiting little acts that may be considered moral.
The much I have done is to create a website that gives writers from my country the opportunity to write and develop their talents without parental constraint. It may not be equated to an example of Moral Leadership or to the likes of Moral Leaders but I believe it is my own stepping stone to becoming more and learning more.
In conclusion, Moral Leadership happens to be the best type of Leadership because I discovered that if the world has more of them, mankind would not be as stupid and as clueless as it is now. Therefore I urge everybody to join hands and learn one or two things they can about Moral Leadership and to imbibe them in their daily activities. If we do this, we may save more than we anticipated and may teach and educate more than we thought.