The character of those in leadership roles is important. Most of us recognize this and require it in the leaders that we look to work for.
This is not just applicable to CEO’s and leaders of large organisations of political parties. It is applicable to you, the shift manager and you with your team of two or three employees.
The sad thing is that few of us actually seek to continuously improve and develop our own character, instead giving in to our egotistical desires, or act simply to find shortcuts to solutions through selfish acts.
Why Character is Important for Success
We rarely hold ourselves to the standards that we expect from those at the very top, and maybe that is what is stopping you progressing from middle management to the Board of Directors.
This article will outline 4 reasons why character is important for success:
What is Character?
Character is a minefield. It is almost indescribable. Philosopher, Pierre Bourdieu, studied the field of ‘habitus’. Habitus is every persons natural state of being, composed of sensibilities, dispositions and taste.
These factors are things each person is born with.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, defined character as something similar to this sentiment;
“The quiet reserved value creating force of the person, untouched by circumstances or external pressures.”
It’s important to try to find out your behavioral traits and understand why you sometimes act the way you do. Character, however is taking these natural reactions further and aligning them with action.
The energy, value and service a person contributes to a circumstance.
But why is character important for success?
1. Good Character Builds the Trust Needed for Success
Often when one has the goal of leadership in mind, you work on other attributes rather than your character as you attempt to reach your goal.
Being knowledgeable, eloquent attractive with many industry contacts might look like you’re doing well in influencing those you want to. However, if they think that your character is flawed, your potential to lead and influence won’t really ever take off.
Your intentions won’t be trusted, limiting your leadership and management abilities.
2. Character Helps You to Perform Your Role
Whether you’re a leader, aspiring leader or just trying to impress your boss, take a step back to understand how your character affects the way you perform your role.
This will help you to be clearer and more confident in your choices, rather than either following other people, or making unappealing decisions to ‘get ahead’ at work.
3. Leaders with Morals Motivate their Employees
Those with strong characters are likely to also have a strong moral code. Good moral character comes from a person’s ethics and virtues that they believe in and maintain in their daily decisions.
Develop your moral character by identifying what is important to you and analyze how bad moral character will affect those working for you.
Decide to be loyal to your moral code and good employees will pick up on this and be more supportive, leading them to work harder towards the shared goals of your company.
4. Your Character Gives You Empathy
Empathy constantly comes up as a trait needed for leadership. Being empathetic means you see situations from the point of view of others and why they may act in a different way to how you would in their situation.
It’s important to figure out behavioral differences.
So next time you’re struggling with why you’re employee did that, you’ll see the differences in your thought processes and natural character which makes each of you act in a certain way.
The Strength of Character In A Leader
As a leader or aspiring leader, an important thing to remember is that serving the needs of the broader enterprise or community is way more important than your own personal desires.
“We have seen many leaders taken down by their flaws, leaders who have gotten complacent in their power and their own self interest has lead to their downfall.”
Notably, without mentioning names, we are in somewhat over a global character crisis, a crisis which has undoubtedly contributed to our worldwide financial crisis.
Because of this, and because of any of us having experience with a bad boss at work, leaders are often deemed as untrustworthy due to pre-judgment.
Leaders that we have experienced this with, have not suddenly become bad people, the issue lies with the evolution from focus on their job and character and morals, to self interest of the worst kind.
Self promotion, with little thought of what they are actually doing to their reputation.
Character is important for success as it’s what makes us authentic. It makes us, us. Being self aware about character is what will make you stand out in a good way.
In the mean time, as an individual, don’t blame others (those above, on a level with, or below you professionally) for a lack of ethics and character, but commit to being the character that you would want to be led by.
Don’t just argue what you believe is good but practice it too.