Everybody seems to be talking about character based leadership. Amidst the buzz around character based leadership, I often still find myself wondering;
“What does it really mean in practical terms?”
Character Based Leadership Definition
Trying to clarify the matter for myself I came up with the following definition and I like to test it with you, so let me know in the comments what you think.
“Character based leadership is the discipline to constantly focus on the greater good and to put it and the needs of others above your own desires.”
To help me make it practical, I relied on a character based leadership audit from Chery Gegelman based on answering a number of questions related to specific character areas in your role as a leader.
Character Based Leadership Focus on Authenticity and Integrity
Authenticity and Integrity is core for developing character based leadership. It has all to do with how consistent you relate to people and the manner you treat them.
- Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do you greet people when you see them?
- When you are under pressure, how do you treat people?
- If you make commitments, do you follow through on them?
- When others are not around, how do you speak about them?
- Are your actions and directions to others ethical?
Character Based Leadership Incorporate Conscientiousness
You express Conscientiousness by showing great care, attention, and industriousness in achieving specific outcomes and goals.
- Do you make sure about specific concerns, and if there is any concerns, do you address it?
- Do you set a clear direction and communicate this to the rest of your team?
- Are people empowered to do what is required of them and do they have the necessary equipment?
- Do you ensure consistent support is provided for the people in your team?
Character Based Leadership Values Truthfulness
Being Truthful is much more difficult than it may seem on the surface. It takes courage to speak the truth consistently in the face of intimidation, politics, and fear.
How Truthful are you? Ask yourself:
- Do you identify and correct unclear facts and possible misleading information?
- Do you involve all relevant people in the discussions of matters, so as to make sure information gets shared in a truthful manner?
- Do you ensure trust with your team by making sure your actions and your words always match up?
Character Based Leadership Have Compassion without Sacrificing Accountability
When you address the actions of others, it is necessary to keep a balance between compassion and accountability. When you have compassion for someone it does not mean the person is not accountable for their actions.
You keep the balance by asking:
- Do you ensure you get to the root cause of an issue?
- Do you assess your contribution to the issue either by what you have done or not done?
- Do you look for ways to take ownership of the issue and ensuring it gets resolved?
- Do you continue to repeat previous actions and patterns, yet expect different results?
- Do you have a track record of improvement or are you merely trying to minimize the negative effect of decline?
- Do you asses your strategy regularly and are you honest enough to admit it when it is time for a change in strategy?
Completing this character based leadership audit frequently will assist you in developing your own character based leadership style over time.
Do you have any further character areas to add or maybe some additional questions?