Under the Surface

This past week our old kitchen was ripped out in preparation for the new one going in. Exciting times! Whilst ripping out the old significant historic water damage came to light, which had compromised the floor. In the short time we looked around the house before purchase, the kitchen seemed good on the surface. Once moved in and upon closer inspection the kitchen was not as good as hoped. Everything looked ok and yet it was what couldn’t be seen which could have proved catastrophic.  

There are parallels here with leadership. Leaders can come across as competent and of good character outwardly. But as with our kitchen it is what lies beneath that has the potential to compromise the integrity of a leader. To lead well is to be mindful of what lies beneath. What is going on inside? When you pay attention to these inside areas the outside follows what everyone else sees will be good too. Many leaders of late have ruined their reputation through poor personal choices and a lack of attention to their own character.

“Character makes trust possible, and trust is the foundation of leadership. It’s true that charisma can make a person stand out for a moment, but character sets a person apart for a lifetime.” “Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent.” John Maxwell

How are you doing with your character?

A Leader’s Character is Critical to the Organisation’s Success

There are leaders who have decided to sacrifice their character instead of doing what is right. John Maxwell is right, good character helps build the trust needed to build teams who will perform at a higher level. It is not something you hear about until things go wrong. At this point it is too late.

What can you do to work on your character as you lead?

There are no short cuts to character. It takes time and it takes intention. Character is built one day at a time based on the decisions and work you undertake on the way you think, and more importantly matters of your heart.

5 Habits to Form that Build Your Character

1. Decide what for you are the red lines. Your decisions are governed by the values and beliefs you have. A value for people and their well-being must be central. The decisions you take will affect others; so evaluating the impact and desired outcome must be factored in.

2. Be intentional. Character formation does not happen by accident. Integrity means at times it will cost you in your leadership to follow through on the words you have said.

3. Leader’s of good character are not in it for themselves. You realise that if great things are to happen then collaborating with others is crucial. Collaboration requires trust to work at its best. In leadership you must decide to keep trusting, as you model this those you lead will follow.

4. Character means being accountable. Taking responsibility and not looking round for someone else to take the blame. Things go wrong, the questions must be around what can we learn here? How can I help you develop?

5. It is inevitable in leadership that someone will betray or take advantage of your trust. The temptation is to stay offended. In my experience this damages you more than the object of your offence. Practice forgiveness this counter-intuitively protects your heart and keeps it clear.

There is much more to say on character, and I would love to hear your thoughts. You can contact me at mark@smartculture.uk

Mark Billage

Mark Billage

Mark’s passion is to help realise individuals’ potential, be they leaders or team members, through empowering organisational culture. He has spent 7 years leading an organisation based in the non profit sector. In that time, he focused on creating a culture that enabled and empowered individuals, with the aim of seeing a high performing team better able to achieve the organisation’s mission.

Our Vision

To train and equip leaders to transform culture, build successful teams and organisations where everyone is seen, heard and valued for their unique contribution.

Scroll to Top