Character lies at the center, at the very core of who you are.
Skill development is important for sure, and is a major component for success, but your core is always going to be made up of your character. If someone were to take a reading on you, like checking the quality and quantity of motor oil in an engine, what would they find inside you? If we were to run a quality and quantity check on your core’s composition, what would be the readings on passion, integrity, honesty and honor?
Character can also be identified by the strength of a leader’s mind, their resolve and their morality.
This all forms and strengthens a leader’s inner core and determination to do what is right, whether anyone else validates them or not. Many leaders’ actions in the past have been viewed wrong by the majority and only supported by the minority. It was only afterwards, in their legacy did we find them to have been right or wrong. The bottom line is, these leaders did not wait for history to prove them right, they took action on their beliefs through their core determination.
3 Steps to Character Development
Step 1- What do you believe in and stand for?
There’s the old country song, “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” Do you have clarity on what your belief system is, and what principles you stand for? I think it’s difficult to really get in touch with this for most people until they are well into their 30’s simply because they haven’t had enough life experience yet. Certainly, your 20’s to mid-30s is a good incubation time for this and discovery from mid-30s to 40 are a strong time for evaluation and clarity. Everytime you examine and clearly define what you value and believe as right, as well as what you judge and declare as not the way to go, strengthens your belief system and the core of your character.
Step 2- Are you authentic in your words and actions?
Being authentic means being true to yourself. Knowing what you can and can’t reasonably do well is a discovery process within itself. Making promises to deliver you can’t keep is not very authentic and that deadly chip on the shoulder can send you off into a deadly danger zone. You may see something and think it’s sexy and prestigious, but if you can’t deliver and add to your track record of success, it’s inauthentic. There’s nothing wrong with trying for something and failing, it’s good to test the boundaries and find limitations, but being authentic is recognizing them for just that, the edges you need to play within to be successful. Everytime you recognize when you are being authentic and inauthentic and you make the adjustment, you build your core of character.
Step 3- Will you stand behind your actions, but freely admit when you are wrong?
Passion can be a powerful drug, a huge driving force for you as a leader, but it can also blind you to realities. Leaders with character take responsibility for results which are bad as well as stand in the limelight of results which are good. It’s always best to own your actions, because if you don’t, people will become confused on what you believe in and you will eventually lose all your influence. People want to know where you stand, if you find yourself out of bounds, they want to know you will freely admit it without having to be corralled or cornered by anyone. The best trust-building statement any leader can make is “I’m sorry, I was wrong”. Everytime you practice that with sincerity and authenticity, you build your core of charatcer.