The Lead Change Group is a group of corporate executives, coaches, and mentors working to improve leadership quality today. Despite variations in detail, all of the writers agree on the book's central message: that character matters in leadership, and that there are important aspects that form character.
Character-Based Leadership is about leading from the heart rather than from a position of authority.
Come accompany us for the next 10 minutes to learn how you can get involved in the character-based leadership revolution!
Lesson 1: Character-Based Leadership 101
The reality that our employees and their leaders are dissatisfied with their current situation must be acknowledged first. Leadership is apathetic. As a result, many members of the younger generation that enter the workforce do not want to be leaders.
Character-based leadership is built on three concepts. Leadership is influence. Influence is bestowed. Competence, trust, and purpose are all factors that affect people. Here's how your employees will view it:
- Competence is number one. Your team wants to know if you, as the leader, can guide them all toward the group's goal.
- Number two is trust. They must trust that you, as the leader, can take them to the goal. Do it in their best interests and help them get the advantage they anticipate from participating.
- The third point to consider is the purpose. They must think that the goal is worthwhile. They must have the same plan, or the leader (you) will lose influence and power over them.
We are often faced with decisions that have an impact on other individuals and organizations. Some of the options deal with morality and wrongdoing. Others are about being willing to confront an issue rather than avoiding it, and many are simply about speaking up rather than doing nothing.
To tackle these problems, you don't need to be in a position of authority or influence. Character is all that is required. You and I may determine that now is the moment to put character first. And once we do, we'll be on our way to becoming character-based leaders.
Lesson 2: Leading from Within
When we go to work and assume leadership responsibilities, we bring our whole selves to the table. We bring our values, talents, pride in previous successes, and ambition to effectively lead our teams. We also carry our uncertainties and knowledge of prior failures, as well as our worries and vulnerabilities.
Being a character-based leader necessitates a clear vision of where we want to take our organization. We also need a clear personal vision of self: a vision that reveals why we are leading it in the first place.
Our followers may hold us accountable and want our actions to match our words if we share this vision with them and allow our leadership to flow from the inside.
Abraham Lincoln is touted as an illustration of character-based leadership. It's because of who he was. And it's how deeply attached he was to his actual self, how he allowed that sincerity bleed through in his leadership, and how much he cared for his fellow "common man." It's about the goal he was dedicated to realizing.
A linkage to our inner selves; a comprehension of "where we came from" that keeps us based in reality; an inspired ideal self to which we are dedicated; a set of powerful and compassionate values that we follow; and an awakened perspective of where we would like to guide others are the foundations of Character-Based Leadership.
Lesson 3: Accepting Your Value as a Leader
To begin, we must be honest and courageous enough to admit that we can do anything. We (ideally) have more experience, talent, or insight than the others we'll meet, and they can benefit from our leadership in helping them develop and improve.
This isn't going to be an ego trip. This is nothing more than faith in our own skills. Character-Based Leaders are dedicated to motivating people to develop their own abilities. This means assisting people in moving from good to exceptional, turning their skills into expertise, and teaching them how to teach others how to do the same.
Character-Based Leadership has a variety of alternatives:
- Leading by Position
- Leading by Policy
- Leading by Preference
- Leading by Participation
- Leading by Pandemonium
- Leading by Personality
Regrettably, they all have bad connotations. They all take the lead because of a character flaw.
Character-based leadership is based on our basic character strengths. Because it puts us ahead of the difficulties and competitors we confront, we lead from our strengths. It also helps us make meaningful use of our time rather than stumbling our way through the issues we face as leaders.
Lesson 4: Head and Heart
A character-based leader manages with his intellect and leads with his heart, emphasizing the value of both outcomes and relationships. Employees bring their minds and feelings to work every day, so it's only logical for the workplace to include components that utilize both.
A true head-and-heart leader prioritizes 'us' over 'me.' They recognize that the business requires sound managerial judgment and the encouragement of fun and laughter, adventure, limitless possibilities, and creative thinking for employees to achieve their shared goals.
Things start to go awry when leaders focus too much on either the work or the people. It's usually the task-oriented approach. Task-oriented techniques are usually the ones that garner the most attention. Cash flow, widgets per hour, projected vs. actual costs, and other similar metrics are easier to track...
However, they aren't as important as employees' sentiments and buy-in. Because each result is right, an inclusive approach is required to complete both tasks and establish relationships. Neither of them can stand on their own in the long run. For success, both are needed.
Character-based leaders prioritize one before moving on to the other, switching back and forth as necessary. They understand when and how to strike a balance.
Lesson 5: Walking the Walk
The tiny acts or reactions that make up our decisions are the focus of character-based leadership. They are the cornerstone of our trustworthiness.
Character-based leaders aim for consistency in their words and actions. They strike a balance between rationality and desire. They pay close attention. They pay close attention because they understand that experiencing the problems they confront is the best way to learn.
So, how can we cultivate integrity in our day-to-day leadership?
We must be aware of our position. If we don't know who we are, we can't possibly be genuine to ourselves. Even if we make every effort to be truthful, it will be impossible to do so. At the same time, we are oblivious to our own reality.
We must adhere to our values. Anything we say or do that goes against our values isn't worth it. Nothing, no matter who asks, will make up for the betrayal of our values.
We get together to figure out how to get back home. The most prevalent error made by leaders is to believe that they are always correct. When a leader becomes powerful, everyone around them either believes the leader is right or appears to believe it. We must be modest and accept our shortcomings.
Others will decide whether or not to follow our lead based on how consistently we walk our talk as a leader.
To be accountable, one must be willing to promise another and commit to keeping it. Accountability is frequently mentioned in managing work and activities, but it really refers to managing our relationships with integrity.
Accepting failure is part of being accountable. Accountability is admitting when we don't follow through on any portion of a promise we made. It's taking personal responsibility for the repercussions of our relationship and any damage we may have caused to others.
Lesson 6: Humility and Respect
An overinflated ego is the fastest way to undermine a leader, a company endeavor, or a relationship. Yet, we frequently go to work without considering the true cost of hubris.
The ability to see that we are always better together is humility. As we grow more aware of others around us, our needs begin to converge with those of others in a cooperative effort to achieve mutual achievement. The following behaviors help to cultivate humility:
- Taking greater care of others than we do of ourselves.
- Serving people without expecting anything in return is admirable.
- Recognizing and embracing one's talents and flaws.
- Thanking people for their encouragement and support.
- Allowing others to perform as we watch and cheer them on.
Respect is also essential. We positively appreciate individuals when we respect them, which motivates us to behave in their best interests.
Character-based leaders aren't interested in gaining an advantage at the expense of others. They seek opportunities for everyone to benefit.
Respect is the natural result of humility; we undervalue ourselves and overvalue others when we have too much humility. Meanwhile, we underestimate others and overestimate ourselves when we lack humility.
Respect is essential for bringing a team to life and allowing everyone to lead in some fashion. We're deceiving ourselves if we claim we need more leaders but don't allow them the space to lead.
Lesson 7: Measuring Up
So, how can we know if we pass the trustworthiness test as a leader? Employees assess a leader's trustworthiness using a range of criteria.
Ethics, inter-personality, and work focus are the three basic categories that these yardsticks come within.
The Ethics yardstick assesses a leader's moral compass: do they adhere to an appropriate moral code? Do they appear to be trustworthy? Is the leader respectful to others, acts responsibly, and avoids criticizing others?
The chemistry that individuals sense while engaging with their leaders is the basis for the Interpersonal yardstick. It is mostly determined by a leader's interpersonal style, a combination of individual personality qualities, and regular contacts.
It's mostly determined by a leader's interpersonal style, which is a mix of unique personality qualities and everyday encounters that determine how they connect with others in the company.
The third criterion, Work Focus, is based on what a leader concentrates on to get things done. Humans have a natural propensity for either focusing on "getting things done" (task) or "interacting with and relating to others" (relationship,people). Neither perspective is "right"; both are viable points of view.
A genuinely good leader would also encourage opposites to collaborate and use one another as sounding boards, allowing team members to understand alternative perspectives.
How Do You Measure Up?
To summarize, character-based leadership is not the same as traditional leadership. It's about how you engage with others in a correct, consistent, grateful, and modest manner. It's all about commitment, trust, and, most importantly, character. Continue on your path to success!