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Leadership & Character – Courage

Courage sign with road background

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. Read more

Leadership & Character – Self-Control

Control your emotions text concept

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. Read more

Leadership & Character – Vision & Meaning

Vision concept with hand pressing a button

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. Read more

Leadership & Character – Compassion

compassion word in wood type

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. Read more

Leadership & Character – The Importance of Caring

leadership training expertThe 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. Read more