The Times, Sept 29
The Times, Sept 29

I experienced a fabulous discussion yesterday about ‘amoral leadership’, a concept which echoed throughout the day.

This letter to the Times sums it up quite nicely. It’s a doctor’s comment on the suggestion that normal hours for junior doctors will be 7am til 10pm, Monday to Saturday. Not quite what the people suggesting it do.

Is it fair of a leader to ask people to do things they wouldn’t do. Or don’t do in practice?

‘Amoral leadership’ isn’t about whether the task is right or wrong, not about whether it is ethical or legal.

It’s about fairness. Do to others only what you’d wish them to do to you.

What’s fair depends on your mindset and whatever steers your moral compass. If a leader has no moral compass, or a differently calibrated one to yours, then what they ask of their people will seem unfair and not worthy of support.

‘Amoral’ literally means lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply”. In business, moral judgements apply all the time if you believe work is part of a social system. But not if you believe work is part of a purely financial system.

Do you see examples of ‘amoral leadership’ around you?