The goal of the Leadership wiki is to collect and disseminate information about the qualities of good leadership through theoretical analysis and presentation of exemplary leaders. Such exemplary leaders are ones who engage in a specific practice, maintain the standards of their practice against personal temptation or institutional pressures to be more efficient, seek excellence in the whole of human life by transforming his/her personal desires to pursue what is truly good, and finally confront what is wrong with culture. The leadership wiki will explain practice, internal goods, standards of excellence, and virtue in general, and individual leader wikis will provide examples of leaders and relate them to the general wiki page.


"any coherent and complex form of socially established cooperative human activity through which goods internal to that form of activity are realized in the course of trying to achieve those standards of excellence which are appropriate to, and partially definitive of, that form of activity, with the result that human powers to achieve excellence, and human conceptions of the ends and goods involved, are systematically extended." [1]

For example:
Counting coup: counting coup involves running, touching others with a war stick, standing, and fighting. Among the Lakota Sioux, counting coup occurred when a warrior would run into an enemy camp or war party and tap his enemies with his war stick without killing them. By tapping an enemy with one's war stick without killing the enemy one demonstrates one's fierceness and bravery. In effect, the warrior is saying to his enemy that the enemy is no match for the warrior and the warrior does not fear the enemy.

Internal Goods

those concrete goods which are achieved only through participation in a practice;

What is the positive end of the activity(ies) of the practice?

Internal goods must be defined with reference to the particular practice because they are goods acheived only in that practice and they partly define that practice.

For example:
Counting coup: The good of showing your enemy that you are not afraid by touching him and letting him live.
In comparison, the prestige gained from counting coup comprises an external good, because prestige may be gained by other means.

Standards of Excellence

Those standards by which people inside and outside of the practice recognize a master practitioner.

Just like internal goods, standards of reason must be defined within the practice because they both constitute and are constituted by the practice.

For example:
Counting coup: Crazy Horse touching his enemy first and letting him live and then returning from the war uninjured.

Other examples from other practices:
E.g. When Heath Ledger plays the Joker in The Dark Knight, he makes you forget that he ever played the male lead in Ten Things I Hate About You.
E.g. When Martin Luther King jr. sacrifices his own freedom in order to lead others to embrace fairness as part of the common good.
E.g. When George Washington maintains his integrity for the benefit of the common good and resists calls to be king or president for life.


admirable characteristics or dispositions that aid us either in some or all of the following: learning and using satisfying and expansive skills, interacting and communicating with others, or determining the direction of our lives, in ways that contribute to the well being of the community.

NB: The Ethics, Moral Leadership, and Common Good students of Fall 2012 at Providence College arrived at this definition as a class, going through a variety of alternatives. With guidance from the instructor, we looked at the definitions of oppression and domination by Iris Marion Young.[2] We figured that the obverse of oppression and domination would define a flourishing life and we wanted to tie virtue to a flourishing life while giving some content to the notion of flourishing.

For example:
Counting coup: //Courage: When Crazy Horse runs into an enemy camp and merely touches his enemy with his war stick and does not run away, he exhibits courage.

A List of Virtues and Their Definitions

Prudence: choosing one's behavior judiciously by consulting experience and deliberating thoughtfully about what response is most appropriate[3]
Courage: Steeling the will, reinforcing its resolutions, and turning the mind relentlessly to seek or face the truth; conquering fear.
Honesty: being truthful to others and refusing to mislead or deceive
Integrity: upholding moral values and having an honest, upright disposition.
Justice: the evaluation of situations according to their merits, fairly and without prejudice, as well as giving each person his or her due.
Respecting the human dignity of every individual regardless of their heritage, social class, race or intellectual or physical disability. It involves giving every individual an equal opportunity to flourish, reach potential and achieve success
Temperance: exercising control over one's desires and escaping domination by them.
Loving Kindness: to love others regardless of who they are and treat them well.
Perseverance: the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, or a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Common Good

Minimal Common Good:

"The common good embraces the sum total of all those conditions of social life which enable individuals, families, and organizations to achieve complete and effective fulfillment.”
--Mater et Magistra §74

Substantive Common Good

The rank ordering of goods, practices, and institutions in society such that they are organized in a consistent vision that incorporates the complete good of each and every member of society
  1. ^

    Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984, p. 182.
  2. ^ //

    Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton University Press, 2011, p. 38.
  3. ^

    Most definitions taken from Ruggiero, Vincent Ryan. Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues 8th edition. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2012.