15 Ways to Encourage Moral Growth in Leadership

SAMSUNGBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Moral Growth Is a Lifelong Pursuit

Moral education needs to start early, and it also needs to continue throughout our professional careers.

Unlocking Moral Awareness

How can we help leaders develop the moral thinking and awareness that they need to make good leadership choices? What specific conversations and experiences will support moral development?

I have compiled a list of 15 things that we can do in our organizations to encourage ethical awareness and moral growth. These elements can be applied as part of ongoing leadership development in any organization.

15 Ways to Encourage Moral Growth in Leadership

1.  Provide Opportunities to Build Intercultural Competence

2. Create Cognitive Dissonance (an Uncomfortable Awareness That Our Thinking Needs to Change)

3. Build Awareness of the Flaws in Our Human Thinking

4. Teach Systems Thinking

5.  Teach Leaders to Honor and Value Differences

6. Teach Leaders About Global Resource Limitations and How to Use Sustainable Business Practices

7. Teach Global Thinking and Global Citizenship

8. Teach Leaders to Demonstrate Respect and Use Positive Interpersonal Behaviors

9. Model Ethical Leadership

10. Help Leaders Learn to Think Longer-Term (Generations, Rather than Quarters)

11. Teach Leaders How to Find Mutual Benefit When Solving Problems

12. Help Leaders Develop Self-Awareness

14. Help Leaders Develop Ethical Awareness

15. Talk About What Ethical Leadership Looks Like in Day-to-Day Practice

This list may get you thinking about other ways to encourage ethical awareness and moral growth. What would you add?


For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 



  1. Linda

    I really like the depth of your conversation and it has merit and it is worth pursuing and I would encourage all our senior consultants to be aware of your recommended 15 Ways to Encourage Moral Growth In Leadership but I also recommend empowering my colleagues to think like the owner and contemplate each as it applies to them and the business. In other words hands off is a style I find very successful in this day and age and would recommend it to everyone who runs a practice or a SME or even large business.


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