This is a long lost word in our culture’s vocabulary that I hope to resurrect in as many lives as possible.

It has nothing to do with molten rock that originates under the earth’s surface as you might intuit at first glance…

What it is

Magnanimity is a virtue or a habit. You practice virtues to build character. Magnanimity is the habit of striving for great things. Not striving for great things in order to be honored, but to affirm man’s dignity and his worthiness of doing great things. Magnanimity is the habit of action. Urgent action.

What it is not

Magnanimity is not self-esteem. Self-esteem is what you have. Magnanimity is something you are.


Martin Luther King recognized ‘the urgency of the moment’ and a few months later organized the ‘Million Man March’ and delivered his ‘I have a Dream’ speech.

How to use it to solve an issue

Urgency seems to lack today, especially in the middle and lower ranks of organizations I encounter in my work.

If you want yourself or your organization to be characterized as having a ‘sense of urgency’, then add magnanimity back to your vocabulary to give a name to what you want from your folks. Help them practice this habit, measure it with regular feedback, recognize them publicly and soon enough, they’ll be characterized as magnanimous.

Magnanimity and humility go hand in hand. I’ll write a post on humility next and then tie them together….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *