Moral Intelligence Significantly Impacts Business Performance

This week I had the honor of meeting Fred Kiel.

Fred has written a couple books. One is titled Emotional Intelligence, and another is called Return on Character. Through his organization’s research they have discovered an incredible fact:

Character-led organizations out-perform organizations with self-focused leadership.

There is a 5 times greater return on assets on average. Character-led organizations have 26% higher workforce engagement. Their high-character leaders on average are perceived as +18% more skilled overall.

Leaders who have a high degree of moral intelligence lead much stronger companies than self-focused leaders.

The Difficult Truth

Fred shared his story. He was driven to create the largest psychologist practices in the world. He initially had great success expanding to multiple offices and eventually he took his company public. But as he told us this story he paused. With a deep breath he said, I know my heart at that time. At that time my focus was simply to make a lot of money. My employees were just tools to make that happen. I was a self-focused leader.

Fred’s honestly and self-awareness were impressive. Fred went on to say that his company started to faulter. He went to a conference where the speaker asked him what was most important to him. He said his family and his God. Then the speaker said pull out your calendar and checkbook. What do they say are most important to you? This hit him hard. And over the course of that conference he was committed to a new journey.

The Discovery

Fred returned home and over the course of the next year his business failed. He said that the business failure was tough. He then started to wonder do character-led businesses do better than business with self-focused leaders? Intuitively he knew the answer was yes. But a friend of Fred disagreed. His friend said that having morally intelligent leaders is great. But it doesn’t really impact business performance.

Fred knew the only way to convince his friend that he was wrong was to collect data and do the actual research. So, over the course of several years Fred’s team conducted the research and found a clear pattern. Here are some of the shocking results:

• Having an MBA has no effect on the success of the business.
• The age of the leaders has no effect on the success of the business.
• The leader’s home life had no effect on the success of the business.

What had the greatest effect was whether the leader had high moral
intelligence.
How does the leader treat the people around him? Does he truly care for them or does he only care for himself and his family? Those leaders who put others first had the most successful businesses.

Morally Intelligent Leadership

Be a morally intelligent leader. Be humble. Listen to the people around you. Be willing to take negative feedback. Focus on the needs of others over your own needs. It isn’t easy to do. You need to create positive habits to help others. But if you do those things you are going to see much greater success in business.

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