Business Leaders Don’t Meet Their Employees’ Ethical Standards, Survey of U.S. Employees Shows

Nearly 80% of Big-Company Employees Say Their Bosses are NOT Moral Leaders, and 59% say the Business Would Perform Better if They Were, According to LRN Research

NEW YORK, March 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Not enough business leaders show the kind of moral character that employees want – specifically, bosses are not standing up for principles, defending people who are treated unfairly and exercising empathy.

The lack of “moral leadership” is, in turn, making employees worse at their jobs, and making it harder for companies to meet their goals, U.S. employees say in a new survey by corporate ethics and compliance firm LRN Corporation.

Following are among the findings of the survey of over 500 U.S. employees of larger companies. Only…

  • 13% say their leaders usually take a stand on moral topics.
  • 15% say their CEO elevates others by being empathetic and connected.
  • 17% say their managers put principles first.
  • 14% say leaders acknowledge their own failings.
  • 13% say their leaders make amends when they get things wrong.
  • 16% say their managers usually shine the spotlight on others rather than themselves.
  • 17% of employees say their leaders stand up for people who are being treated unfairly.
  • 23% say that the managers and executives they work with closely are moral leaders.

The potential business benefits of filling this moral leadership gulf are striking, according to the survey, “The State of Moral Leadership in Business,” the LRN report based on the survey.

  • More than four out of five employees – 83% – say their companies would make better decisions if their leaders were to follow the “Golden Rule,” i.e., treat others as you would have them treat you.
  • Most employees – 59% – say their organizations would be more successful in taking on their biggest challenges if their leadership had more moral authority.
  • 62% of employees believe their colleagues’ performance would improve if managers relied more on their moral authority than on formal power.

“Our system can’t function without leaders with ‘formal’ authority – whether our Commander in Chief, CEOs or school principals. But what makes it all really work is when leaders occupying those formal positions – from business to politics to schools to sports – have moral authority. Formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned and sustained every day by who you are and how you lead,” says LRN Founder and CEO Dov Seidman.

To access LRN’s Moral Leadership Report, please visit: https://pages.lrn.com/moral-leadership-report.