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Summary of Questions of Character Joseph L. Badaracco Jr
This story demonstrates the complexities of a leader’s moral code. Due to these complexities “it is crucial for males and women in positions of duty to reflect, from time to time, on the soundness of their moral codes” (Badaracco, p. 34). Okonkwo’s life “offers a number of basic ways for leaders to test the soundness of their personal deep convictions” (Badaracco, p. 51). His story also “warns us against viewing moral codes as straightforward, mechanistic devices” (Badaracco, p. 51). It is dangerous for a leader to believe they are acting morally just due to the fact they believe they have a strong moral code. According to Badaracco (2006), a solid moral code has its roots in what the neighborhood values. It is dynamic and “requires an ongoing, open engagement with the moral and sensible life that surrounds a leader” (Badaracco, p. 52). It is revealed in a leader’s failures as well as their reactions to them. Badaracco believes that flexibility is “the clearest sign of a great moral code” (Badaracco, p. 52). Okonkwo was so firm in his own beliefs that he ignored these around him that could have helped him develop this flexibility.
- How was Okonkwo in the story Issues Fall Apart comparable to the leaders of today’s organizations?
- What do good leaders do when faced with their personal failures?
- What are the three standards that can be employed to judge the functions of one’s moral code?
- Why did Okonkwo fail when he attempted to act on his insights as a leader?
- What does the story of Okonkwo’s life inform us and warn us against?
- What does Badaracco think a sound moral code resembles?
He was a difficult worker whose drive and determination lead him to the prime of his neighborhood. He was “the psychological and emotional counterpart of the sturdy, determined men and women who run most organizations today” (Badaracco, p. 32).
Good leaders “reflect on their reactions to them they also look for explanations, and they commence by searching at themselves rather than blaming others” (Badaracco, p. 41).
The fundamental characteristics “can be judged by 3 standards: clarity, motive, and dominance” (Badaracco, p. 43).
Okonkwo did not vocalize his values and his code of ethics was not for a altering globe. He needed “the capacity to crystallize and powerfully communicate his convictions and concepts – in techniques that resonated with the values and feeling of the individuals he wanted to lead” (Badaracco, p. 50).
His life reveals the complexities of one’s moral code. It “shows us the importance of a leader’s moral code and provides several standard methods for leaders to test the soundness of their personal deep convictions” (Badaracco, p. 51). His story also “warns us against viewing moral codes as simple, mechanistic devices” (Badaracco, p. 51).
He compares a solid moral code to an “old, weathered tree” (Badaracco, p. 51). It has “deep roots in the values of communities and in the lives of their leaders” (Badaracco, p. 51). A very good moral code also “grows and evolves with time” (Badaracco, p. 51).
One of the main ideas that this chapter discuses is that leaders must continuously reevaluate their moral codes. It is crucial that they do not grow to be stuck on their past beliefs because “the clearest sign of a very good moral code is flexibility rather than firmness” (Badaracco, p. 52). Flexibility permits leaders to examine circumstances and act accordingly. A static moral code can lead to the downfall of well-which means leaders.
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