A Leader's Essential Character Traits
Character shapes how you engage with the world. It also shapes how the world engages you, and it is the rootstock of leadership.
Four character strengths are at the core of exemplary leadership:
· Integrity is being honest, consistent, without pretense and dependable. These qualities build trust, essential for consensus building and developing strong networks. Ask yourself, would what I am about to do or say be approved by my grandmother or grade school teacher? If the answer is no, look at other options until you can say yes.
· Bravery is acting on your convictions and speaking up for what is right, especially in the face of opposition or when you must take an unpopular but necessary stand. Try asking difficult questions that help you face reality in order to build your bravery.
· Perspective is the ability to take in and make sense of the bigger picture. Leaders must make decisions that position their organization and themselves for long-term success. To do this, they must take in the strengths and weakness of themselves, others and the competition in order to generate ideas and plan in a systems-oriented manner. Set aside time once a week to think through how your beliefs connect with your emotions in order to develop a deeper sense of perspective.
· Social Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your emotions and those of others, in the moment and to use that information to manage yourself and your relationships. Being aware of the feelings and motivations of others and yourself helps you to connect with a variety of people in different settings and to put others at ease, keys for managing conflicts, building connections and negotiating successfully. Enhance your Social Intelligence by appreciating a person in the light of their positive attributes, especially when that person pushes your buttons.
Originally published in BOOM Jackson July 2014