Annual Virtual Conference on Moral Leadership

Temperance and Organizational Leadership

Galatians 5:23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

Video Presentation

Karl Inge Tangen

This chapter explores how temperance as a virtue relates to organisational leadership. The study begins with short survey of Classic Greek and Christian notions of temperance before it moves on to explore temperance in relation to self-leadership, visionary and strategic leadership and relational leadership. The final part of the chapter offers reflections on how temperance might be cultivated. Temperance is understood as sound-minded 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 protects the leaders self from chaos and destruction.  Moreover, temperance may also nurture focused visionary leadership that accepts ethical limits and has an eye for the common good. The study also suggests that organisations should cultivate a culture of strategic discipline - capable of realizing such visions. On the inter-personal level, temperance is seen as critical in term 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 the outside or a subordination of feelings to reason, but a quite complex process that includes interpersonal humility, finds vision in an encounter with the good, and yet remains a personal responsibility.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


Karl Inge Tangen, Ph.D.

Dr. Karl Inge Tangen is associate professor at HLT, The Norwegian School of Leadership and Theology. His research areas are practical theology and organizational leadership. He has also served as a pastor, principal and consultant in different types of organizations in Scandinavia.

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