“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
On 28 August, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these immortal words to a crowd of over 200,000 people who gathered for the now historic march on Washington to demand an end to racial segregation in the USA, and for equality in jobs and civil rights. Dr. King’s use of the word, character, points to an individual who can be judged on their distinctive qualities and unique attributes as opposed to someone’s outward appearance.
As a leader, your character affects your leadership, and as a result, you can make a judgment of someone ability to lead, not by their physical appearance but, by the content of their character. According to the late great Dr. Myles Munroe, if you have a questionable character, you can never be an effective leader. In Monica Patrick’s article, the Role of Leadership, Monica shows how character and leadership go hand in hand, and any doubts about a leader’s character can have devastating effects on an organization’s ability to become great.
Let look at how a leader’s character affects these 4 critical areas of leadership.
Matter of Trust
Leadership must be trusted to make the smartest decisions and do the right thing, especially under challenging conditions. Trust is achieved by demonstrating competence and through strong character. Hiring executives must believe they can trust the leader as well as the employees who follow. Once a leader’s character is proven untrustworthy, their ability to lead will diminish. Keeping leaders who have weak character can diminish all morale and create a very toxic work environment.
Good character in leadership commands respect. Besides being trusted, these leaders have the respect of their teams and even the competition. A person with good character is courteous, never demeaning, and is accepting of opposing viewpoints. As a result of their willingness to listen to other people’s views, this increases their influence in the organization. People with weak character aren’t respected because they have shown that they will not make good choices or make decisions that are in the interest of the team.
Leadership with good character brings a spirit of excellence to a business. These leaders expect more than the status quo from themselves and the people they lead. This character attribute encourages team members to learn more and do more. With excellence comes responsibility. This leader takes responsibility for their actions, even when it means owning up to mistakes. They have a strong sense of accountability and expect the same from their team members.
People with good character genuinely care about the people they work with. They have a real concern for others and work tirelessly to ensure their team interest is placed at the forefront of any decision made in the organization.
“Your gift can never protect your character, but your character will protect your gift.” Dr. Myles Munroe
A person’s character, good or bad, can inspire others to greatness or discourage them from trying. Authentic leaders lead from a strong, personal, moral value that can have a profound effect on your organization. As a leader, you need to understand how your character affects your organization’s rise to greatness and how it can be a significant detriment to its success.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 136,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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