Today as I look out the classroom window to the Severn River beyond the Naval Academy, I hear my students in the background taking their final exam in Ethics and Leadership. It has been a good and challenging semester for both my students and for me. Together we were challenged by the material that caused each of us to reflect and consider deeply what makes up our moral foundation. Not any easy task but one that is essential to being an ethical leader. We challenged ourselves, then one another to expand our perceptions of right and wrong as there are many decisions in life that don’t fall neatly into crisp categories of right and wrong. Our moral foundation is critical as leaders.
We also investigated the “grey areas” of moral decision making. Through case analyses, we wrestled with determining whether an action was morally required, morally prohibited or in the grey area of morally permissible. Placing ourselves into the scenarios, we asked many questions. “Could we, should we make the same decision?” Diving deeper we asked, “would our decisions be morally permissible given the constraints of human dignity, due respect, rights, and justice and then determined what would be the consequences of our decisions?”
Throughout the semester we developed a process for moral deliberation – a framework to guide us in our decision making. We conversed about the special obligations military members have because of the Oath of Office Naval Leaders take upon commissioning. Lastly, we looked at the impact our decisions have upon our character. This framework or “moral decision roadmap” as we call it, is now a guide for my students to take with them into their military careers where they will make many moral decisions as Navy and Marine Corps officers in the Naval service.
The semester comes to an end in just a few days – I have one last final to give. What I want YOU to know is that this talented next generation are developing as leaders and as leaders of character.
Leadership and character development take time and is well worth the investment. My question to you is this: In whom are you making the investment?
It has been my privilege and honor to teach these students this semester. As they depart for the holidays, I wish them both rest and renewal, and that they may joyfully celebrate the holidays in whatever tradition they embrace.
Happy holidays and, in my tradition, Merry Christmas!
Need some coaching to make the right investment in our future leaders? Drop me a line at CaptainBarbaraBell.com. Want to know more? Check out my book: Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High – in it I have some great questions to help you in your leadership journey.
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