There are many attributes that contribute to a positive assessment of the character of a leader. Each of the positive character attributes contributes in its own way to the ability of the leader to make good, character-based decisions with respect to the actions they take as a leader. My most recent blog explored the importance of self-control. The focus for this blog is on a similar attribute – patience.
Like self-control, patience is about exercising restraint. It is the ability to tolerate or endure situations involving delay, annoyance, trouble or misfortune without getting upset or angry. High levels of patience are often demonstrated by a remarkable lack of complaining, irritation or loss of temper. Like self-control, patience is important because it can dramatically impact relationships with others as well as our ability to make good decisions. Continue reading →
Over the past few months, I have offered insights into the various attributes possessed by leaders who act with character. Each of these character attributes contributes to the leader’s ability to make positive, character-based decisions. One attribute I have not yet explored is self-control. After reviewing various dictionary definitions I’ve landed on the following themes that express the meaning of self-control: the ability to resist or delay an impulse; the ability to control oneself – particularly emotions and desires; and the ability to stop yourself from doing something you want to do, but may not be in your best interests. Continue reading →
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 ability to make good decisions is an important skill for leaders. In order to be able to make good decisions, leaders must have a clear focus. This focus can come from the vision that the leader is trying to achieve and the underlying purpose or meaning that is served by the vision. So, let’s take a look at the importance of vision and meaning in character-based leadership. Continue reading →
The past two blogs have focused on the assessment of character using the methodology Fred Kiel introduced in his book entitled “Return on Character”. In the book, character in leadership is based on an assessment of the presence of four universally-accepted moral principles: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion. We’ve reviewed the impact of responsibility and forgiveness on character. In this blog, we will look at the importance of integrity as it relates to character-based leadership. Continue reading →
There are many ways to measure the degree to which a leader demonstrates positive character. In his book entitled “Return on Character”, Fred Kiel measures the character of leaders based on four universally accepted moral principles:
Let’s explore the importance of responsibility to character-based leadership. In his book, Kiel connects the principle of responsibility to two important behaviours: Continue reading →
The focus of today’s blog is the importance of caring to character-based leadership. There is an old quote by Theodore Roosevelt “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It is widely accepted that business knowledge is a very important attribute of successful leaders. However, a leader’s business knowledge is only valuable if the leader is able to effectively communicate it so that it will influence the actions of others.
To shine a light on the impact that a caring approach can have on the power of a leader, I’d like to share the story of the leadership and ownership struggles at Market Basket, a grocery retail chain with more than 70 stores located in the eastern United States. As CEO of Market Basket, Arthur T. Demoulas had developed a strong reputation for caring; earned by always making time for employees. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →