Why Character Matters in Leadership
Character is often discussed as one of the critical factors of good leadership, up there in importance with having the competency to lead effectively, as well as possessing the drive and determination to be a success. However, while leadership competencies in particular are discussed in great detail, a leader’s need to have the “right” character often garners comparatively short shrift in leadership circles.
So what is meant by leadership character, and why does it matter in leadership?
Followers respect a leader with character
Employees will always respond well to a leader who demonstrates good character – whether this is understood to mean integrity and trustworthiness, or the general agreeableness of their approach. Leaders who possess good character traits and values will be respected – because they are consistent in what they do and in how they do it, and because they are evidently operating with a set of values that chimes well with their followers.
Striving for excellence
Good character and consistent values will likely also impact on a leader’s drive to succeed. Virtues associated with “good character” – courage, ambition, drive, for example – will all feed in to this person’s willingness to push for excellent outcomes in everything they do. They will make difficult decisions and try new things, and they will also work hard, in collaboration with their team.
Compassion & Care
A leader with character will always operate with a large dose of empathy for the feelings of others, and will also be self-aware enough to know that there is still things to learn in how to improve their own leadership approach. This will mean they undertake leadership with a real ability to show compassion and demonstrate genuine concern for the people they lead, reinforcing the leader-follower relationship and improving the overall cohesiveness of the organisation.
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