Today’s post will take a brief look what quintessential leadership and unquintessential leadership look like in terms of character. Increasingly, it seems that both people in leadership positions and the people they lead believe that character is irrelevant to a person’s ability to lead.

However, that is not true.

quintessential leadership character mattersThe type of character a person possesses is the critical component to whether someone is a quintessential leader or an unquintessential leader, because character defines who and what we are as people. Character is something that we are at all times. It is an essential component in determining whether we are building trust and are trustworthy or we are destroying trust and are untrustworthy.

Anthony Weiner and Bob Filner are two people in leadership positions who’ve been in the spotlight recently because of character issues. However, both have proven themselves, not only in what they’ve done, but how they’ve handled what they’ve done, to be unquintessential leaders.

What does a lack of character and unquintessential leadership look like? 

  • Belief that character and the ability to lead are not connected
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Patent inability to admit being wrong
  • Refusal to take responsibility, blaming others
  • Refusal to apologize
  • Refusal to make amends
  • Refusal to change
  • Lack of care or concern about effects of behavior

What does character and quintessential leadership, then, look like?

  • Understanding that character and the ability to lead are intrinsically connected
  • Remorse when wrong
  • Admit when wrong
  • Take responsibility and blame self
  • Apologize
  • Make amends
  • Willingness to change
  • Great care and concern about effects of behavior

We all struggle with character as humans, but as quintessential leaders, we must win that struggle. And that means who we are on the inside must match who we say we are and project ourselves to be on the outside.

Because we live with our internal selves 24/7, each of us has the responsibility to continually:

  • Assess ourselves
  • Admit where we fall short of the character standard
  • Apologize for and fix in our lives, if we are able, whatever’s been broken because of our shortfalls
  • Remove the shortfall
  • Change

Character matters. It always has. It does. It always will.

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