Leaders who act with character have a variety of virtues and values that contribute to their ability to make positive character-based decisions. One of the key attributes of character-based leadership, which seems to get less attention, is humility. Humility is generally defined as “a modest view of one’s own importance”. Individuals who demonstrate humility focus more on others than they do on themselves which is why humility can be such a great character-based leadership attribute. Continue reading →
The past three blogs have focused on character in leadership based on an assessment of the presence of four universally-accepted moral principles: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion. These principles are the foundation of the methodology for assessing character that Fred Kiel introduced in his book entitled “Return on Character”. This blog will focus on the importance of compassion as it relates to character-based leadership.
In order to understand the role of compassion in a character-based leader, we can turn to Fred Kiel’s book “Return on Character” where he outlines three common behaviors or attributes that constitute compassion in a leader: empathy, attachment and affection.
Let’s start with empathy. Empathy is broadly defined as the ability to understand the feelings of others. It is an important attribute for leaders to have for many reasons. First of all, a person who demonstrates strong empathy skills focuses on the feelings of others and not just their own feelings. Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” put “Seek first to understand then to be understood” as habit number five. I think that Covey believed that to honour this habit a person must be able to demonstrate empathy and strong listening skills. Once they establish a deeper understanding of the other person’s point of view, they will be in a much better position to articulate their own thoughts and feelings. When a person senses that you understand what they are feeling, the relationship strengthens. Continue reading →