Does a Pragmatist Make a Better Leader Than a Moralist?

 Is it possible to create a profitable company while creating a strong moral purpose? This may be answered in whether a profit is the result or a goal. A powerful moral code.

 "In order to be able to persuade others to follow a course of action, should a leader have personal integrity?" Jim Woods

"In order to be able to persuade others to follow a course of action, should a leader have personal integrity?" Jim Woods

I ask my clients if they have a moral purpose. Their first assertion is an agreed obligation to shareholders. As though there is a zero-sum game. The leaders who get it are the ones who understand they can maximize share price while being idealistic.

They learn to appreciate the economic and societal benefits to doing good.

A major company connected community with profits in a manner many of us easily would ignore. Visiting an impoverished country this company president asked, “Why are these families wet on motorcycles? One could conclude as most of us have, that is not our problem. Perhaps, additionally, if these families had made better decisions previously they would not be in this situation. This is where compassion comes into play for a leader. They surmised there was something better to be done to assist these poor families by designing an inexpensive auto to help solve a need. There was a profitable assumption. The company, however, saw a benefit to society. What would that story do to magnify the empowerment of employees toward becoming empowered?   

Doing so requires a leader to be pragmatically idealistic. For earning a profit allows a company to remain in business. An organization’s morality should not succumb to the ego promises are made and kept to others and yet, absent or vague when applied to employees. Creating in the tide, so to speak, an incremental almost unnoticeable disengagement eventually displayed as low market share, high attrition, emerging competitors and low initiative to innovate.

Leaders are more productive than followers

A company, sought to transform from top down command and control leadership between the team and organization. This leader created the company where leadership emerges from the middle. Influence spreads out to a minute number of future leaders to an organization of followers who became empowered leaders. These leaders feel a partnership with company. Ignoring any lamentations for “How we used to do things around here.”

Jim