Listening and Moral Intelligence

Edited by Gonzaga University | Updated: Friday, 18 November 2016, 6:11 AM

Listening & communication issues:

Leaders are summoned in uncertain times, when the going gets tough, when things get out of hand. When it’s smooth sailing, you can get by as a mere manager or even a caretaker, and pretty nicely at that. But when something is missing, when things are stuck, when there is chaos, you must lead (Zweifel, 2003, p. 11).

  1. No matter how hard one tries, one cannot avoid communicating

    All human behavior contains communication information whether it is in what we say, or don’t say, our expressions, our actions, the clothes we where, the gifts we give, even our hair style and the color of our skin relay information to others.

  2. Communication does not necessarily mean understanding

    Understanding occurs when individuals have the same interpretation of the symbols being used in the process of communication, whether it is through words or other means.

  3. Communication is irreversible

    A communication cannot be taken back, it becomes historical experience. (This is a good point to remember.)

  4. Communication occurs in a context

    There are appropriate contexts, and inappropriate contexts (i.e. be aware of the appropriate time and place for business and non-business discussions).

  5. Communication is a dynamic process

    Communications have no beginning or end; they are continuous and active without beginning or end. A communicator can be both a sender and receiver of a message at the same time (i.e. sometimes I have great insights while I am teaching a concept, and the insight is often ignited by a student’s response or query). "If you do not communicate effectively, you will lose your people" (Zweifel, 2003, p. 9)

Servant-leaders in training are tasked with learning to communicate effectively. We may consider communication a general discipline, but do we consider listening to be a discipline? The purpose of this presentation is to provide more information on this important topic. Communication is crucial to leadership because you cannot be a leader in isolation. Effective communication can virtually (presumably) resolve all human issues; unfortunately, most of us have limited speaking, listening and reality shaping skills; limited perhaps because these skills are still in development. Communication for our purposes means a process through which persons convey, receive, and share information and interpret meanings and feelings through exchanges of verbal and nonverbal messages.

Table I depicts four kinds of communication skills and the education priority in which they are learned, used and taught (Zweifel, 2003, p. 29). The table makes one ponder why educational institutions do not have many specific courses, let alone programs, just on the topic of listening.

The communication impact on a receiver of a message is based:

  • 7% on words used (I suspect this may be changing as our technologies evolve)
  • 38% on how the words are said, tone of voice, loudness, inflection and other factors (no wonder my emails are sometimes mal communicated/misinterpreted)
  • 55% on non-verbal, facial expressions, hand gestures, body position etc., (making email even more difficult especially in high context situations)

Although listening is a fundamental skill, for the most part we are not taught advanced skills on how to listen effectively (Zweifel, 2003, p. 29). A survey of 22,000 shift workers in various US industries, reported that 70% of workers have little communication with plant and company management, and 59% said that their companies do not care about them-no one listens to them (p. 30).

The philosopher Bernard Lonergan described four successive levels of consciousness, sensing, intelligible listening followed by rationalizing, and judging the worth of the gathered information (Morelli & Morelli, 2002, p. 448). Lonergan clearly indicated that listening is highly engaged in the first two levels of the process of coming to know. The first level of consciousness is the empirical level where we are attentive; we sense, perceive, imagine, feel, speak, move, and listen. This is why listening is so important; it is where understanding begins. The second level intelligible listening is where sense experience is made intelligible; it is the level where we inquire, come to understand, express what we have understood, and work out the presuppositions and implications of our expressions. If Lonergan’s 4 sequential levels of consciousness development hold, than obviously inattentive listening impedes, inhibits, or distorts one’s capacity to adequately rationalize and make good judgments.

An even more wholistic perspective on listening is posed by Pennington (2000), who claims we actually listen with our total being. Just as we use our ears to listen for sound, similarly we use our eyes to listen for color and perspective, our nose for scent, and our mouth for all kinds of tastes. Our whole body is sensitive to touch, while our inner faculties listen for feelings, emotions, memories, insights, ideas and concepts. Our whole being can be focused on perceptive listening. As perceptions come to us they pass across the shape of our listening. We then become aware of what fits with the parameters of our listening. What does not fit because of bias, barriers, lack of awareness is likely to be ignored or not perceived at all (pp. 22-25). Pennington’s point is that when each of us becomes aware of and accepts our capacity for listening; that is a starting point for becoming more attentive and aware. An obvious way to experience truer perceptions is first to become aware of and then begin removing our barriers to perception.

Listening is frequently described as a key characteristic for servant-leaders. Greenleaf (2002) suggested that one "might become a natural servant through a long arduous discipline of learning to listen, a discipline sufficiently sustained that the automatic response to any problem is to listen first" (p. 31). Greenleaf set great value on listening; he wrote more extensively about listening than any other characteristic.

Greenleaf’s perspective on listening is closely linked with the choice to serve first and begins with respect and includes empathy. Listening in Greenleaf’s view is essential for healing and greater wholeness. Greenleaf (1996) suggested relational impediments and also "organizational impediments should be viewed as illness to be approached by the attitude of healing, healing that brings wholeness…to both healed and healer" (p. 99). Greenleaf prescribed an explicit way we might develop our capacity for healing-by practicing a discipline of listening. "Listening is basically an attitude-really wanting to understand. It is also a technique. But the technique without the attitude is phony" (Greenleaf, 2003, p. 46). Learning to listen involves "the attitude of intensely holding the belief…that the person or persons being listened to will rise to the challenge of grappling with the issues involved in finding their own wholeness (Greenleaf, 1996, p. 95). More profoundly, Greenleaf’s claimed that "Great as I believe the healing power of listening to be upon the one [who speaks], a much greater healing takes place with one who learns and assiduously practices listening" (p. 95). Greenleaf’s assertion implies there is a mutual benefit of learning to listen in this way, and even more astounding is the greater healing may go to the listener. The result is greater wholeness for both the leader and the led.

Listening is a choice; a choice that involves developing the ability to listen for the truth of each situation, an ability that nurtures awareness and wisdom. Listening for the truth (the essence of the issue) involves a quality of presence-a natural human ability, that allows us to intuitively and compassionately hear, see and discern what the real issue is, and the ability (with a few words) to bring others to awareness and understanding of the issue. This is at least in part a learned skill, a discipline, it may be an art and for some a gift; nevertheless, it requires humility.

Most experts agree that active listening is the preferred listening mode. How many of us have had extended training in active listening (beyond one or two sections of a training program or a course)? Many people have a mechanistic view of listening, where listening is switched on or off; however, listening is a very complex learned skill. Some refer to listening as an art, and we don’t become master artists without training, practice, experience and a little genius. Listening involves humble sharing, interacting, and providing feedback to the communicator.

Communicating with people from other cultures increases the importance of effective listening as we strive to pay attention to the message, empathize and create rapport, and share meaning. We may be sharing ourselves in an inappropriate manner and we may be giving inappropriate feedback. Listening and communicating processes often differ cross-culturally as a result of

  • Cultural stereotyping
  • Socializing norms and expressions
  • Cultural thought patterns
  • Perceived roles
  • Language skills
  • Space orientations
  • Time orientations
  • Hand and arm gestures
  • Eye contact

Cultural misunderstandings may cause communication barriers that interfere in our ability to relate. In terms of quantum thinking, you and I exist only in relation to each other. If relationship is the source of our existence, and if relationships are sustained and deepened through communication, then communication is the medium for our existence. Through communication we enhance relationships that can influence, shape, and mold each other. So how do we enhance our listening and communication skills? Zweifel (2003) indicates that organizational results will increase exponentially with the quality of our listening and describes eight types of listening (the first four levels are examples of poor listening).

  1. Ignoring

    No listening whatsoever, you ignore a communication by dismissing it – and the person.

    a. For example, fiddling with your mouse, or interrupting, or listening to your internal chatter when someone is speaking to you.

  2. Pretending

    Pretending is ignoring with the added pretension of hypocrisy. People pretend to listen when they know they should be listening. Have you while speaking to someone on the phone-surfed the net or finished reading an email? Have you mastered the art of the well timed nod of agreement?

    1. Signs of pretending
      1. Guilty looks
      2. Inappropriate laughter in meetings
      3. Jumpiness-distraction
      4. Gadget fumbling
      5. Trance-like states
    2. I cannot listen intently and multi-task. I try to do it every day, but it hasn't been effective yet. In fact I find it is quite difficult to listen intently for very long even when I am intent on listening.
  3. Controlling

    Listening that influences-through gestures, facial expressions, or sounds -what the speaker can say. Have you had the experience of trying to speak to a person in authority and feeling slightly inadequate, and ended up saying what you thought the listener wanted to hear, fudging the original message? We find ourselves editing the message as we speak when we are delivering a message that appears expressively disagreeable to the receiver.

    a.How does it feel to be listened to in a controlling way?

  4. Projecting

    Responding with your interpretation of what is said, rather than to what the speaker actually stated. When we project we hear a communication through our own filtering system, through our own prior judgments, biases and perspectives. You may be sizing up the person as she speaks.

    1. When someone is struggling to explain a concept or an incident to me, I tend to want to finish the statement for them, or restate the sentence how I would have stated it.
    2. Concluding what the message means before it is fully stated, and offering a preemptive response.
  5. Respecting

    Hearing the content of a communication-nothing more, nothing less-and responding to what is actually said. Productive respectful listening is accomplished

    1. By observation, and by constant approximation
    2. Listening to hear rather than answer
      1. Are you waiting for the speaker to finish?
      2. Are you thinking about how you will respond?
      3. Are you judging the accuracy of the speaker’s words?
    3. For example, when I am able to be present to the speaker, even when there is actually few words being used, I can be present, engaged and still receive and give back understanding and respect.
  6. Empathizing

    Empathy involves reflecting and experiencing other people’s feelings and states of being through a quality of presence that has the consequence of their seeing themselves with more clarity, even without any words being spoken (Hall, 1994). Viewing the situation from the speaker’s point of view, listening for content: What does the speaker want? What is the point? What is being communicated but not said?

    We also strive to hear the intention behind the content with sincerity and respect. Empathizing enables us to respond by facilitating the other person’s intention (a response is not a defensive reaction) we do this by attempting to see the big picture and respond with the idea of maintaining a long term relationship.

    a. For example, when I am aware of my own struggle to articulate important information, I am able to listen with understanding and even compassion to the struggle to communicate and the sincerity of the speaker - I am able to empathize.

  7. Generative Listening

    Generative listening is sophisticated listening; it is active, inventive listening that evokes the best qualities in others by creating the other’s brilliance: This is what Greenleaf referred to when he stated: people grow taller when you listen to them. Generative listening is a creative act. You become a finely tuned receiver that picks up what currently is, and also what wants to be communicated. Through generative listening something wholly different is stimulated: an insight, a new idea, a new awareness, a grander-level of understanding of an issue or crisis. Strategic questions and solutions that I hadn’t considered before may simply emerge, in part, because my willfulness and ego are in check. By letting go of preconceptions and biases; I sit patiently in the "not knowing," unthreatened by differences of opinion and worldviews; and, I allow the act of listening to birth something truly original and worthwhile. "Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow your mind's hearing to your ears' natural speed, and hear beneath the words to their meaning" (Isaacs, 2010).

    The notion of silence is another aspect of generative listening; some refer to as Generative Silence.

    Some find silence awkward or oppressive, but a relaxed approach to dialogue will include the welcoming of some silence. It is often a devastating question to ask oneself – but it is important to ask it – In saying what I have on my mind will I really improve on the silence. (Greenleaf, 1977, p. 31)

    Generative silence may be the most important (and least visible) form of relational engagement. In generative silence I listen un-expectantly for intuitions, I listen for the right moment to speak what might come to mind. It requires the listener’s utmost level of attention, presence, and intention. It is a way of tapping into the realm of wisdom, a realm of knowing that is beyond the rational.

  8. Listening to Listening

    Listening by shaping how we listen to others, by being aware of how others are listening to us. Great speakers are aware of how their speaking is received while they speak. This means constantly tailoring what is being said to the audience. Listening to listening is a way of letting the audience speak through the speaker by giving voice to the listener’s unspoken thoughts and desires in such a way that the listener gains a voice: this is serving the listener.

    How do we listen to listening, how do we create this rapport with the listeners? First of all, by sidestepping the formal written agenda, (even though the formal writing is necessary and needs to be prepared) and asking ourselves how the listeners view the world and what they are thinking: what is the language of discourse they will most effectively hear? Pay attention to the listening in the room and your words may come to express what the listener’s desire and need. Listening and speaking in this way will be in tune with what needs to be said at any given time to produce the desired outcomes.

    a. For example, when I teach from the heart or from my authenticity, everyone or almost everyone in the room is having a learning experience, even when they don’t really understand my words. Sometimes I may not be aware of what they are hearing; Or I am also hearing for the first time in a new way what I am saying.

Communicating for Results; an application

The point of communicating for results is to know in what domain (relationship, vision, planning, or action) you may need to communicate. Figure II shows 4 different communication domains that are useful for filling up the communication egg (Zweifel, 2003).

  1. Relationships

    The deeper we can build the foundation of our relationships the further up the accomplishment egg we may climb. The key to foundational relationships is trust. Organizationally, relationships begin with the questions

    • Who are we?
    • Who are they?
    • Where do they come from?
    • What are their values?
    • What makes them tick?
    • Are they attempting to deepen their relationship with us?

    When your partner or client is upset you should work on relationship, forget vision or strategy or action-work on relationship.

  2. Vision

    Visioning communication should not be critical or skeptical. Organizationally, to get at vision we begin with the questions

    • What are we here for?
    • What is possible?
    • What do we want to accomplish?
    • Are they envisioning a new possibility?

    Return to the vision when people are resisting change, when they have lost energy or focus, when they are giving signals that the status quo is preferred.

  3. Planning

    Planning is where strategy is developed which will come apart if you don’t have a solid relationship and vision, because this is where the critical perspective must be applied and further constraints such as outcomes, responsibility assignments, and budgets. Organizationally, we ask the questions

    • How do we get it done?
    • What part of the vision is not yet accomplished?
    • What can go wrong?
    • How do we deal with delays and obstacles?
    • What opportunities have appeared that require planning and thinking?

    When people are moving slowly or they are not sure how to proceed, the tactical and strategic plans are likely unclear to them. Communication needs to focus on how until they are ready to move into action.

  4. Action

    Action follows the planning process, and this is where you need to ask for commitment and request agreement and support for the actions to be taken. All is geared towards the current situation and expected future outcomes. When people are not meeting their goals or agreements then communications focused on action may need to occur; however, only if there are not problems with any of the previous 3 levels. If people don’t show up, are late and/or unprepared for meetings, then organizationally question

    • Are they feeling this is a partnership (relationship - stakeholders)?
    • Do they own the vision?
    • Can they see their way through to completion?
    • Are they offering or demanding specific action?

    Listening is a skill that we can practice and improve on throughout our lifetime.


Isaacs, W. The facilitation of dialogue: notes for and about the dialogue "specialist". Retrieved Nov 12. 2010 from

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th Anniversary ed.). New York: Paulist Press.

Morelli, M. D. & Morelli, E. A. (Eds.). (1997). The Lonergan reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Pennington, B. M. (2000). True self false self: Unmasking the spirit within. New York: Crossroads Publishing.

Zweifel, T. D. (2003). Communicate or die: Getting through speaking and listening. New York: Select Books.


Servant-leadership & Moral Intelligence

School of Professional Studies / Gonzaga University

ORGL 530 Course Notes

- John H. Horsman, Ph.D.

We come into the world to be interdependent; furthermore, if we do not work to serve others, we fail to act as morally intelligent leaders (Lennick & Kiel, 2005, p. 100).

Covey (2002) in the Forward to our text Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power & greatness introduces servant-leadership as leadership with moral authority (pp. 1-13). As servant -leaders in training we recognize that the people we work with are vital to the flourishing of our organizations; yet, moral virtues such as compassion, empathy and forgiveness are often dismissed or overlooked as peripheral factors to organizational purpose and success. For the servant-leader this is not the case: "When people live by their conscience, responding to the universal principles … their behavior echoes in everyone’s souls" (Greenleaf/Covey?, 2002, p. 5). One of the more distinguishing aspects of the philosophy of servant-leadership is its essential relational and moral implications.

Greenleaf suggested a test that morally binds the servant-leaders judgments, decisions, and actions.

The best test, and the most difficult to administer is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit or, at least, not be further deprived? (Greenleaf, 1977, pp. 13-14)

Greenleaf knew the application of this benchmark would be difficult and at times quite ambiguous; nevertheless, he still claimed it as the best test of servant-leadership. An obvious implication is that if moral and ethical issues are not included in decision making and implementation processes servant-leadership is likely not occurring; as a result, the potential for human flourishing is reduced. It is important therefore that a course on servant-leadership includes (introduces at least) a discussion on moral issues and applications. For this purpose, I draw primarily on Lennick and Kiel’s (2005) Moral intelligence: Enhancing business performance & leadership success.

Lennick and Kiel (2005) make a case for morality in business, claiming that just as cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence are distinct human intelligences, so is moral intelligence. (Regarding human intelligences Ken Wilber (2006) asserts there are about a dozen human intelligences that have thus far emerged in the human sciences.) Moral intelligence is defined as "the mental capacity to determine how universal human principles-like those embodied in the golden rule-should be applied to our values, goals, and actions" (p. 7). Lennick and Kiel further claim, "The most effective leaders hold to a common set of principles and consistently use those principles to guide their day-to-day actions. The principles business leaders follow are the same set of principles that all human societies throughout time have believed to be right" (p. 20).

Additionally living in alignment with these universal principles is crucial to our individual and organizational survival and success (p. 35). Consistent with Hall (1994), Lennick and Kiel claim there is a set of universal human values and affirm the notion that we all are in a sense "hard wired" for morality.

Lennick and Kiel (2005) argue that "we come into the world programmed to be interdependent." And, "If we do not work to serve others, we fail to act as morally intelligent leaders" (p. 100). Our capacity for empathy, they claim, provides evidence for our innate human morality and empathy is a crucial building block for moral intelligence. Empathy; however, needs to be nurtured and modeled (called forth) for one’s moral development to progress. A critical aspect of this progress is learning to become authentically empathetic with ourselves-such as acknowledging and forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. Empathy may also be a base for the experience of love which some consider necessary for the authentic operationalization of our desire to serve first.

As a philosophy, servant-leadership is inherently relational: a relational commitment engenders empathy. Empathy is, "reflecting and experiencing other people’s feelings and states of being through a quality of presence that has the consequence of their seeing themselves with more clarity, even without any words being spoken" (Hall, 1994, p. 228). Empathy respectfully encompasses a there I am also perspective and it engages and potentially evolves relationships. A there I am also perspective is more encompassing than me, myself, and I, you and me against the world, and us versus them perspectives. As we transcend from dependence to independence toward valued interdependence our obsession on me, myself, and I diminishes and the value of an I-you and increasingly an I-You relationship clarifies. Respectfully valuing others as a You-with a capital I implies that others are as worthy of as much or more respect as I. Empathy is thus a corner stone for moral development, decision making and moral actions.

The point is that an empathetic relational perspective morally obliges the servant-leaders to create morally intelligent organizations. A morally intelligent organization is one whose culture is infused with values that create human flourishing and whose members consistently act in ways aligned with those values. Lennick and Kiel (2005) identified four critical universal principals of a morally intelligent organization: integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness.


Integrity is central to moral intelligence, integrity is our internal pillar and it functions as our tiller! Thompson (2002) stated, integrity "is congruence in thought and action, word and deed, beliefs and the way one lives one’s life" (p. 172). Lennick & Kiel (2005) claim, "Integrity is authenticity. It is saying what you stand for and standing for what you say. Awareness is the first step to being able to act with consistent integrity" (p. 80). Integrity is that inner sense of connection, faith, and knowing, the I am that stand firm: without integrity I wobble. Covey (2002) states, "People who do not live by their conscience will not experience this internal integrity and peace of mind" (p. 10).

Seeking awareness of integrity calls forth a genuine expression of our internal reality. If envy, greed, and manipulation influence our actions or expression, the consequences are negative (Millman, 1995, p. 69). Consequently, we will not have integrity until we accept who we actually are rather than who we hope or pretend to be (p. 71). Catering to who we hope or pretend to be is catering to the false self. For many of us refining our integrity requires much reflection, awareness, nurturing, and healing. Until I am able to cleanse and bring the light of love into the false self; acknowledge, claim, accept, forgive and heal and transform what is there, I will not be my true self-so to speak.

Personal integrity involves acting consistently with our principles, values and beliefs; telling the truth; standing up for what is right, and keeping promises. Integrity is the enactment of one’s authenticity and awareness in preparedness to act morally and responsibly in the world.

Integrity allows us to stand firm against temptation, chaos, confusion, misinformation, threats and personal attack. What is relevant for personal integrity is also relevant for organizational leadership.

Integrity keeps organizations together. Integrity encourages loyal and trustworthy employees. To ensure organizational integrity, Lennick and Kiel (2005) claim every senior leadership team has at least four responsibilities: first, to identify core organizational values; second, to develop a strategy to communication those values; third, to develop a strategy of practicing and modeling those values; fourth, to invite the workforce to hold the senior team accountable for those articulated and modeled values.


Responsibility involves making informed and reasonable judgments, making decisions and taking action toward the good. Greenleaf (1977) described a congruent sense of responsibility, … responsibility [begins] with a concern for self, to receive that inward growth that gives serenity of spirit without which someone cannot say ‘I am free.’ One moves, then, to a response to one’s environment, whatever it is, so as to make a pertinent force of one’s concern for one’s neighbor – as a member of a family, a work group, a community, a world society. The outward and the inward are seen as parts of the same fabric. (Greenleaf, 1977, p. 293)

Lennick and Kiel (2005) add clarity to Greenleaf’s notion of responsibility arguing that it is "a radical human competency because it requires that we accept personal responsibility for everything that we do…" (p. 95).

Responsibility involves our willingness to accept that we are accountable for the results of the choices we make. Everything we do follows the law of cause and effect. When we cause something to happen, there is an effect, usually more than one effect. Some of the consequences of our actions are planned; other consequences come as a surprise. Owning personal choice entails that we take responsibility for all consequences of our behavior, both anticipated effects and unintended consequences. (p. 95)

Responsible organizational leaders embrace service to others and acknowledging service to others by way of producing worthwhile products or services, and socially creating a worthwhile mission; being willing to admit mistakes and failures; taking responsibility for personal choices; embracing responsibility for serving and calling forth others. When we act responsibly we nurture human and organizational flourishing; this is what servant-leadership is about.


Compassion functions on two levels, how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to others. Compassion involves "embracing your responsibility to serve others" (Lennick & Kiel, 2005, p. 106) and actively caring about others; supporting their choices, caring as much as they do, and sometimes even caring more about their goals then they do. Compassion implies a serious intrusion into other people’s lives; thus the intrusion must be respect-filled and moral.

Compassion invites reciprocation, "Caring for others not only communicates our respect for others, but creates a climate in which others will be compassionate toward us when we need it most" (Lennick & Kiel, 2005, p. 7). A morally intelligent organization is a compassionate organization. A compassionate organization can be identified by the way they handle layoffs, and by the way senior leaders challenge excessive self-criticism-too much negativity is detrimental to healthy organizational functioning.


Forgiveness, similar to compassion, also functions on how we relate to ourselves and others. Lennick and Kiel (2005) claim that morally intelligent organizations use forgiveness as a fundamental and innovative growth strategy. Forgiveness involves letting go of our own mistakes and letting go of the mistakes others make. Forgiveness involves having tolerance for mistakes, and acknowledging our own imperfections, without which we are likely to be rigid, inflexible, and unable to engage with others in ways that promoter mutual good (Lennick & Kiel, 2005, p. 7).

Self-forgiving is accepting we have faults and that we make mistakes. Self -forgiving involves letting go of self-anger for our past failures, errors and mistakes, and letting go of the need to work so hard to make up for our past offenses. Self-forgiveness entails no longer needing penance, sorrow and regret; it involves nurturing self healing and self love that comes with lightening the burden of guilt and shame.

Forgiving others involves accepting faults and mistakes of others and allowing and respectfully honoring their own self-forgiveness process. A forgiving organization creates an environment where employees know they have room to fail. Forgiving is about healing relationships, it means that we do what is necessary, respectfully and prudently, and then we let go and move on.

Living in Alignment

Lennick & Kiel (2005) provide a framework for living in alignment. The first frame contains our moral compass, which includes one’s principles, values, and beliefs. The second frame contains our individual goals, which includes purpose, goals, and wants. The third frame is our behavior, which includes our thoughts, emotions and actions. The authors state, "Living in alignment means that your behavior is consistent with your goals and that your goals are consistent with your moral compass" – this is congruent modeling. The authors further state, "Living in alignment keeps you on course to accomplish your life purpose and achieve the best possible performance in all your life roles" (p. 38). When we learn to do this we will enhance the congruency of our life from both a personal as well as an organizational perspective.

Moral Competency Inventory

I now invite you to go to a web site where you can take the Moral Competency Inventory (MCI). The MCI is Lennick and Kiel’s free on-line self-assessment. I invite you to take the assessment and comment on the results in your respective groups. If you have any difficulties, please let me know.

You may wish to compare your score to the results of the attached MCI excel file. The file below reflects the average compilation score from 98 students from previous classes. How does your personal score compare with the student average? Are your low scores similar? General observations?


Covey, S. R. (2002). Forward. In L. C. Spears (Ed.). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th anniversary ed.). New York: Paulist Press.

Lennick, D., & Kiel, F. (2005). Moral intelligence: Enhancing business performance & leadersh ip success. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Wharton School.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Introduction. In L. C. Spears (Ed.). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th Anniversary ed.). New York: Paulist Press.

Hall, B. P. (1994). Values shift: A guide to personal & organizational transformation. Rockport, MA: Twin Lights.

Millman, D. (1995). The laws of spirit: Simple, powerful truths for making life work. Tiburon, CA: H J Kramer.

Zohar, D., & Marshall, I. (2004). Spiritual capital: Wealth we can live by. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.

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