Do you have moral courage?

by May 11, 2022

There’s a need for leaders in all organizations to commit to working toward creating work environments that support moral courage for all. And one of the most important characteristics for a good leader to have is moral courage.

Moral courage helps us take action when addressing ethical issues. It involves the willingness to speak out and do what’s right even when it isn’t easy.

Yet most people have a natural aversion to taking risks. Oftentimes, we would rather pretend we didn’t see or hear rather than disturb the ethical peace of the workplace. We may be silent because we don’t feel safe and supported to speak up.

As a leader, when you cultivate an environment that supports moral courage, you will mitigate injustice, misconduct, and hypocrisy. You will build trust and psychological safety amongst your teams.

Tips for showing moral courage in the workplace:

  • Speak the truth no matter how difficult it might be for others to hear. Have those hard, uncomfortable conversations when you need to. Failure to do so could result in important decisions and actions missed. 


  • Make ethical decisions with integrity. Sooner or later, you will face a challenge that takes moral courage to address and resolve. Be sure you’ve got a strong foundation in your organization where everyone knows they can speak up without fear of repercussions. 


  • Be open to the viewpoints and ideas of others in the organization. You never know what brilliant idea they might have. 


  • Acknowledge your own mistakes. You don’t always have to be right. Build your own and your teams’ resilience by creating a safe environment where it’s ok to take prudent risks and fail.


Fear is the most common reason employees give when asked why they weren’t courageous to speak up. Are you sure you have a workforce that feels safe enough to speak up when needed? Or are they just telling you that out of fear? 

We can help you understand what your employees are really feeling and thinking. Conduct a climate assessment to find out.



Kathy and The Civility Partners Team


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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