Identifying the traits, values and virtues that are present is a person of good character is a pursuit that has been going on for centuries. Aristotle identified twelve virtues that are present in someone of good character. As you might expect, the virtues are not mutually exclusive and can provide great insights to how good character impacts business leadership. For example, Aristotle included courage, practical wisdom and right ambition in his list of virtues. Many studies of leadership traits identify perseverance as an important trait that successful leaders possess. At the heart of perseverance is the concept of persistence. This is where character comes into play.
Persistence without good intentions or right ambition is problematic. It can lead to someone pushing hard to achieve outcomes that may serve an individual agenda rather to the detriment of others. Persistence without practical wisdom can lead to bad decision outcomes because it involves someone driving others to follow a path that would – under scrutiny – be seen as a poor choice. I think that perseverance is the persistent pursuit of outcomes that are both wise and good. Furthermore, it takes courage to persevere particularly in the face of failure. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb – a great accomplishment – but it took him over 2000 failed attempts to reach success. He certainly demonstrated courage to keep going. He also demonstrated wisdom and right ambition and so his perseverance is seen is a positive light.
One does not have to look too far to find a wealth of examples of perseverance and leadership. The best stories have a common thread – something positive came out of someone’s courage and persistence to do something good and right. Perseverance requires character. Effective leadership requires character. For individuals and organizations to be successful they must find ways to measure character traits.
The ability to “Stay the Course” and other important character competencies can be measured and emphasized as part of a philosophy of building a Personal Leadership Effectiveness Culture that emphasizes CQ (Character Quotient) as much as IQ and EQ. Adopting the use of assessment tools such as the MERIT Profile Assessment™ can assist in the process of measuring important character competencies such as “Stay the Course”. By embedding positive principles into the culture, an organization can trust their leadership at all levels and it will increase their effectiveness and overall performance.
Does your organization currently have these measurement tools and emphasis in place? I look forward to connecting with you. You can reach me by telephone or email or leave a comment right here on the site.
David Town, CHRL, is a facilitator and coach of leadership and management principles that enable individuals and organizations to build greater leadership competency, resulting in higher performance and higher employee engagement. David has a particular focus on effectively managing conversations involving confrontation or conflict. As well, he provides insights and assessment strategies for integrating character competencies into leadership skills resulting in increased trust and reduced risk for leaders. David is President of Your Leadership Matters Inc.