Mark Twain said, “It is curious that physical courage could be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
Moral courage and ethical leadership are qualities that seem to be missing at the highest levels of leadership these days. The impact cannot be ignored since leaders’ actions and behaviors are taken as permission for others to do the same without consequence. Who, then, can serve as a check and balance on unprincipled leadership? Employees, consumers and shareholders can. From Patagonia suing the federal government for rolling back protections on national monuments to Google employees walking out on the job to protest sexual misconduct to Follow This buying up shares of Shell to move them to renewable sources of energy, we are seeing signs of activism in the business world to hold leaders accountable. No longer are we resigned or willing to invest our time, money and resources in companies and institutions that don’t reflect our highest and best values.
Beyond the business world, in democratic republics, the best way to hold our leaders accountable is to vote. Ask yourself if your elected leaders reflect the best of who we are and who we can be.