The Lead Change Group is an association of business leaders, coaches and mentors collectively striving to support the quality of leadership. All the authors agree on this core message: character counts in leadership. Here are some lessons on how you can make character-based leadership count for your team.
Character Based Leadership 101
Leadership these days is often disengaged. Consequently, many of the younger generation entering the workforce don’t seek to become leaders. An alternative to this, character based leadership has three underpinning concepts: Leadership is influence. Influence is given. People give influence based on competence, trust and purpose. Here’s how your team will see it:
#1: Competence. Your staff want to know if the leader can take everyone toward the group’s objective.
#2: Trust. They must believe that the leader can get them to the objective in a way that doesn’t violate their best interests, but helps them achieve the benefit they expect from joining.
#3: Purpose. They must believe the purpose is worth the effort. They must have an aligned purpose or they won’t give the leader influence or authority over them.
Leading from Within
When we show up for work and for our leadership roles, we bring our full self. We bring our principles, our strengths, our pride in our past accomplishments and our desire to lead our teams successfully. We also bring our fears and our weaknesses, along with our insecurities and knowledge of our past failures.
Being a character based leader not only needs a vision of where we are taking our organization, but also a clear personal vision of self: a vision that clarifies why we are leading that organization in the first place. By sharing this vision with our followers and letting our leadership flow from within, our followers can hold us accountable and expect our actions to match our words.
Accept Your Value as a Leader
First, we must be honest and brave enough to affirm that we are actually good at something. This is a belief in our capabilities. Character-Based Leaders are committed to inspiring others to discover their own strengths. To do this we must know our own strengths. Character-Based leadership is leading though our core strength of character. We lead from our strengths, because it puts us ahead of the problems and the competition we face. It also allows us to use our time genuinely, instead of fumbling our way through the challenges facing us as leaders.
Walking the Walk
Character-Based Leadership is about the small actions or reactions that make up our decisions. They build the foundation of our integrity. Character-Based Leaders strive for consistency between what they say and what they do. They balance their logic with their longing. They listen and observe well because they know they can learn by experiencing the challenges they face.
We need to respect our principles. Anything we say or do that is counter to our principles is not worth it. No matter who’s asking, nothing will repay us for straying from our principles. As a leader, the consistency with which we walk our talk is the basis on which others will choose whether to follow our lead.
In all, Character-Based Leadership is not about leadership based on you. It’s about the genuine, consistent, appreciative and humble way you interact with others. It’s about engagement, trust and character above all.