Character -- Why It Matters In Leaders

Written by Guy Harris

"Character is much easier kept than recovered.” - Thomas Paine

“The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

- Abigail van Buren

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece…by thought, choice, courage, and determination.”

- John Luther Long


Here is a simple tip for aspiring leaders – It is far better to have character than to be one.

I once heard Bob McEwen (former Congressman from Ohio) define character asrepparttar combination of morality and integrity. According to his definition, morality is not doingrepparttar 119413 wrong thing while integrity is havingrepparttar 119414 strength to dorepparttar 119415 right thing.

Based on this definition, character is not something you just have. You must work to build character every day. It is something that develops over time, but is destroyed in a moment.

Why, as a leader, is character a big deal?

Without even consideringrepparttar 119416 moral and legal implications of character lapses, just look atrepparttar 119417 impact on your organization. As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” By this standard, your personal character will becomerepparttar 119418 character of your organization. Consider these facts:

- 58% of workers surveyed indicated that employee fraud would decrease if managers (company leaders) were better role models (Oct 2002, Ernst & Young, “The CPA Letter”)

- 80% of people surveyed indicated that they decide to buy a firm’s goods or services partly on their perception of its ethics (2003, Wirthlin Worldwide)

- Unethical behavior leads to more sabotaging behavior inrepparttar 119419 workplace, such as:

o Under delivering on commitments

o Over promising to win a customer or gain support for a project

o Wasting time and energy guarding turf

o Lowering goals to avoid failure rather than striving for excellence

o Paddingrepparttar 119420 budget to look better

o Fudging results to stay competitive

o Hiding facts

o Skipping over details

o Withholding praise from others

o Hogging credit

o Shifting or buffering blame

o Looking for scapegoats

(Case Western Reserve University, Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science)

Hiring Tip – Picking the Best Candidates

Written by Guy Harris

I often hear leaders from all types of organizations ask questions about hiringrepparttar right person. Their questions usually sound like these:

- What if their resume looks great but they have a bad attitude?

- What if they put on a good act and then don’t work hard?

- How can I tell how they will perform after I hire them?

A great way to answer these questions starts with a well-defined interview process. I have heardrepparttar 119412 procedure called many things. I first learned it asrepparttar 119413 Behavioral Event interview process. The guiding thought behind this system is that "while it is no guarantee of success, past performance isrepparttar 119414 best indicator of future performance."

Here isrepparttar 119415 main idea -- develop an interview system that forcesrepparttar 119416 candidate to tell you, in direct and specific terms, how they have worked inrepparttar 119417 past. You wantrepparttar 119418 candidate to do more than recount where they have worked and what experience they have. You can read their resume to get that information. You wantrepparttar 119419 candidate to tell you: how they think, how they work, and how they relate to other people. Actual implementation can get a little involved, butrepparttar 119420 basic process goes like this: 1) Identifyrepparttar 119421 key skills (attributes, attitudes, etc) for success in your organization. In a big company, you might developrepparttar 119422 list by interviewing successful people inrepparttar 119423 organization. In a smaller company, you could brainstorm withrepparttar 119424 owner(s) about what they want to see in an employee.

2) Rankrepparttar 119425 competencies to separaterepparttar 119426 “must-have” traits fromrepparttar 119427 “would be nice” traits. Write your list inrepparttar 119428 form of a checklist for use during interviews. 3) Develop a series of questions that get people to tell you specifics about their experience. The best series start with broad, open-ended questions and lead to follow-up with questions that dig for specifics.

For example,repparttar 119429 series could go like this:

Start with an open-ended question like “Tell me about a time in your high school (college, internship, last job, etc.) when you had to convince another student (co-worker, etc.) to help you?" or "Tell me about a time from your last job (internship, college, etc.) that you had to make a sudden change in plans?" Let them pickrepparttar 119430 scenario; you probe for specifics. When they give yourepparttar 119431 scenario, beginrepparttar 119432 process of "peelingrepparttar 119433 onion." Ask follow-up questions like “When that happened, what wasrepparttar 119434 first thing you did?” Then, "Who did you talk to to makerepparttar 119435 change happen?" Maybe you could follow that with,"Did they react positively or negatively to your request, and how did you respond to them?"

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