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The Need for Temperance
Scandinavian Journal for Leadership and Theology

This article explores how temperance as a virtue relates to organizational leadership. The study begins with a short survey of classical Greek and Christian notions of temperance before proceeding to ex- plore temperance in relation to self-leadership, visionary and strategic leadership, and relational lead- ership. The final part of the article offers reflections on how temperance might be cultivated from a theological perspective. Temperance is understood not only as sound thinking but also as embodied self-control and active patience. On the level of self-leadership, it is argued that temperance enables the leader to establish forms of integrity that protect the leader’s self from chaos and destruction. Moreover, temperance may also nurture focused visionary leadership that accepts ethical limits and has an eye to the common good. The study also suggests that organizations should cultivate a culture of strategic discipline that is capable of realizing such visions. On the interpersonal level, temperance is viewed as critical in terms of enabling leaders to treat co-workers with respect and wisdom and handle conflict with consideration. Finally, is argued that that the cultivation of temperance is not a one-way street from the inside to the outside or a subordination of feelings to reason but rather a very complex process that includes interpersonal humility, finds vision in an encounter with the good, and yet remains a personal responsibility.


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Scandinavian Journal for Leadership and Theology