The Point: As a leader, you will be tested. These tests will not rate your IQ as much as your moral fiber. Who are you? What are you all about? When people come into contact with you, what do they remember? What do you want them to remember about you? If you don’t have the ‘moral muscle’ to stand up to the daily grind that often accompanies leadership, then you need to put yourself first and make the time to exercise! In this post, we’ll take a look at one of our coaching clients who experienced an opportunity to flex his ‘moral muscle’ and in the end, display its strength… Enjoy!
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do… We’ve Got Spirit, How About You?
Dennis Deaton at Quma Learning has written a great piece, titled ‘The Ownership Spirit’ that acts as part manifesto, part instruction guide to a better life. Whether you are a leader or follower, Deaton would instruct that if you can identify your one grand ‘key’ you’ll be able to take control of your circumstances. He moves beyond works such as ‘The Secret’ inasmuch not only do your thoughts become things, but if you take responsibility for your actions, and perhaps most importantly own your mistakes and learn from them, life will become much more rewarding.
It was Deaton who in a recent email brought to light the concept of ‘moral muscle’ and the inherent need to exercise it. Similar to most muscles, if left without activity a state of atrophy sets in. This state of atrophy leads to further deterioration and ultimately does not leave you in your best position to make moral decisions moving forward (be those decisions quick, or more elaborate/thought-out ones).
Does This Ever Happen To You?
One of our clients at Tip of the Spear recently faced a moral dilemma. This C-Suite leader was contacted by an executive recruiter about an ‘opportunity’ that might be right for someone in his network. As things turned out, the ‘opportunity’ was ideal for none other than him (Shocking, right?) All of our leaders high potential recognition, leadership development, even our Centered Executive Coaching initiative had prepared him to take full advantage of the opportunity that was now at his proverbial ‘doorstep’.
Moral Muscle Fatigue
There was only one problem (Ok, there were multiple problems, but for our sake we’ll boil them down to the most important one)… In a word, it came down to what our C-Suite leader would describe as a test of his ‘moral fiber’. You see, our leader had been with only this organization for his entire career. “They took a chance on me, bringing me in as an entry-level analyst with little/no applicable experience. While I might not have had the fanciest degree from the best college, my tenacity coupled with leadership development allowed me to put myself in the best position at seemingly the right times throughout my career here. How could I leave?” The decision to stay versus go weighed heavily on the leader’s head and heart. He was fatigued beyond belief for one of our Centered Executive Coaching sessions.
Moral Muscle Meets Moral Compass
In the end, our leader decided to stay. His organization was none-the-wiser, as he never used this recruitment to better his position with organizational leaders. Instead, he chose to come away with many lessons learned. After asking himself “What can I learn here?” he realized the following (Obviously a condensed list):
- My current company has provided me with so much.
- The skills learned here are valued highly by others.
- This is the organization that I want to retire at.
- The people I work with are my family.
- I will review future opportunities to see if they are better ‘fits’ for me at that time/place.
- Money isn’t everything (but it sure helps!)
- Who I am will not change, regardless of where I work/who I work with.
- I need to strive to do my best work every minute of every day.
- I will inspire others to achieve there best.
- I will prepare my ‘moral muscle’ by exercising it daily through reflection/meditation.
- While I won’t look back with regret, I will look forward with anticipation!
Our leader reacted in rather typical fashion, or perhaps atypical depending on how you look at it. While he wasn’t too concerned about this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ passing him by, he was confident that he had made the right decision at that time. Ask yourself if you were given the same opportunity how you would react… Would it be different? Would it be the same? What would you consider? Would your ‘moral muscle’ come to assist/fail you?
If you’d like to learn more about the Tip of the Spear Business Advisory Services, consisting of our Leadership Development programs using ‘The Leadership Challenge’ methodology, Centered Executive Coaching programs centered with Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching methodology, or are Communication Skills Training for Leaders series please use the CONTACT US page of this website.