Who would deny that we crave intelligent leaders to navigate critical challenges in 2020? And we know that stellar brainpower exists out there, among good people who see from diverse viewpoints. Never before did we need brainpower on the side of truth and compassion! And that poses key questions that call for another serious look at ethics as it relates to IQ.
Can people be considered genius without a stellar moral compass to guide actions such as integrity or kindness to others? Are swindlers enabled in our circles, under the guise of intelligence? In an age where horizons shift, leaders look past moral failures in favor of personal gain, and finer beginnings seem unattainable at times, where do ethics and character development fit into new beginnings?
Look into intuitive intelligence and you will see at its core, ethics and an ability to care for others deeply through service beyond self. That should inspire us, but not surprise us. Otherwise, why embrace honesty, lead with humility, practice kindness or walk humbly?
We now know that each person is born with a unique mix of moral intelligence, and the brain strengthens our moral codes with each ethical act. We also know a person’s choices generate new dendrite brain cell connections for more of the same. Simply stated – what we practice daily is what we become mentally!
What may come as a surprise though is the brain’s proclivity to change itself observably to act ethically or corruptly, in our future dilemmas. For example, today’s actions to cheat on a test rewires our brain for cheating in financial or other practices tomorrow. Or slight conflicts of interest today, grow neuron pathways for the kind of greed that governs our contributions to a team tomorrow. Inequity that enters a circle with only one culture or one gender or one average age, strengthens brainpower for more of the same narrow-mindedness in the next meeting. Yikes! See the need for more diverse offerings in our circles?
My original question though, is:
Can a person be a genius without showing ethical wisdom?
If ethical brainpower is valued as a central part of the intelligent brain, it’s time to revisit MacArthur’s criteria, that awarded several of 25 geniuses to highly unethical leaders in the past decade.
If, on the other hand, leaders can simply drop ethics out of the intelligence mix altogether, we all better run for cover in the next decade. It takes emotional and social health to ramp up ethical IQ.
Yes, IQ includes ethics! Yes, character can and should be taught and developed! Take Karl Rove, the 58 year old Fox news contributor, who won genius status from MacArthur for changes he led with a 50+1 strategy that micro-targeted votes for George Bush to win neighborhood ballots. If ethical IQ or intrapersonal intelligence had been factored into the gauge to identify geniuses – would Rove have won genius awards?
Or check out Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian surgeon, who won 23rd place out of 25 geniuses showcased in the decade’s genius level. You likely remember, he became bin Laden’s confidant, who spear-headed the 9/11 attacks. Is that genius material or gross stupidity? How we decide whether to include or exclude ethical leadership into intelligent leadership will impact what the world looks for, expects and enables in innovative leaders.
Should high performing minds of the future, be held to ethical standards that lead a finer future? Or should brilliant change agents, be listed among minds that promote violence or steal for personal gain? That choice for or against ethics as key to intelligence, will impact leaders who guide innovation across differences for our grandchildren’s era.
Finally, would you agree that when we neglect to cultivate the teaching and development of ethical character, we presume falsely that ethics and character do not hold any place in IQ or mental development? In reality, research such as multiple intelligences support the opposite. Ethical and character development hold as high a place in brains as science, math, the arts, athletics or any other intelligences.
Where to start if we believe ethics is central to genius leadership? Perhaps more practical and brain based tools will help us teach and model ethical, character and emotional health!
What’s your take on fostering more ethical leaders in the coming year? What if we started by phoning our senators and government leaders at 202- 224- 3121 to ask for Justice Roberts to facilitate a fair trial related to impeachment charges so that truth would emerge from facts presented fairly?
Accuracy problems arise if we view a genius in a narrow or outmoded way. Let’s say a person builds a brilliantly designed bomb. Most would agree, that shows high math IQ. But what if that person drops the bomb on innocent children? In this case, ethical IQ is low or missing in one’s intrapersonal mental domain.
Simply stated, a wider view of genius here would show low ethical IQ intrapersonally in this situation, as well as high (or genius) IQ in the logical and mathematical domain. This challenge boils down to the challenge that change presents in 2020.
Believe it or not we are each part of the 2020 change that will leave us benefiting or not. See how change raises or lowers your intrapersonal IQ in this post.
We certainly want our leaders to help us maintain truth as a nation. And we can contact senators at 1-202-224-3121 to help that happen. We can also impact character change in our own lives in ways that help us to create a more caring and ethical world.
This leads to a personal question for each of us: How do we facilitate higher capabilities across all eight intelligences to attain more genius status with an ethical core? What do you think?
YOUR TURN! Join our Brain Based Circles! Would love to meet you at any of the following!
Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset