This blog is part of a series focusing on the attributes that lead to a positive assessment of a leader’s character. Each of the positive character attributes contribute in their own way to the ability of the leader to make good, character-based decisions with respect to the actions they take as a leader. The focus for this blog is on courage. 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 →
In this blog I plan to continue on the theme of understanding the importance of character to leadership. In my last blog, I outlined the importance of good character to leaders. Leaders want to enable their followers to exercise independent thinking and decision-making that serves the leaders vision and goal. In order for a leader to feel comfortable with delegating independent decision-making, they must have trust in the person and individuals who exemplify positive character traits are very trustworthy.