Posts Tagged ‘fairness’

Daddy as a little boyMy dad was the first quintessential leader I encountered in life. He wasn’t perfect – none of us are – but who he was and how he lived his life was anchored to the principles of quintessential leadership.

In the years since Daddy’s death in 1998, I’ve met and or reconnected with many people who knew my dad well and one of the things I’ve consistently heard about him was that he was a good man, a kind man, and a gentle man with an open heart ready to serve and open ears and time ready to listen. (more…)

Narcissus Falling In Love With HimselfEntitlement and the narcissism epidemic is something that all of us as quintessential leaders have to deal with today. But where we have to deal with that may surprise us.

I’ve just finished reading Living in the Age of Entitlement: The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.

Since the beginning of the entitlement/narcissism epidemic that started in the 1970’s, with the “me” generation that the Baby Boomers of the 1960’s morphed into, it has exploded as the Baby Boomers have moved from young adulthood to now being senior citizens. The mess they have left in their tsunami wake as revolutionaries is the mess that we, in subsequent generations, have not only inherited but have also adapted to in many respects. Parents, since then, have been the cultivators of narcissistic children from birth, and society and culture pick up that ball and carriy it after children are old enough to go to daycare or go to school.

Before the 1970’s, entitlement and narcissism were rare in the general population. It was confined to the ranks of royalty and celebrities, but even in those ranks, it was not across the board.

I think knowing that was why I was surprised by the saying that Aibeelene, in the novel The Help (published in 2011), repeats again and again to Mae Mobley: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” This is completely out of character for anybody to say in the world of 1963 Jackson, Mississippi – or anywhere else for that matter.

And yet this is an excellent example of how deeply rooted entitlement and narcissism are in our culture, in our society, and in ourselves. While this phrase would have never been uttered by anyone in 1963, by 2011, an equivalent of it would be a mainstay in the mouths of almost every parent and every elementary school teacher in the United States.

it's-all-about-meAlthough I have been keenly aware for quite some time of the “it’s all about me” attitude and belief that is everywhere in society today and is seemingly more overtly prevalent among the Millennials, there were incidents discussed in Living in the Age of Entitlement: The Narcissism Epidemic that surprised even me as to how early this indoctrination starts and how all of us, including Gen Xer’s like me and my generation (whose most recent parallel generation was the Lost Generation of the 1920’s) can be (and most have been) affected by it to one degree or another.

Narcissism is an epidemic in our society because it has infected every part of our lives and it has changed us in fundamental ways. Not all of us, but most of us. And that affects us as quintessential leaders because we’re not immune to the infection, and it affects the teams that we lead.

However, the one thing that should not be affected – and we have to get rid of any traces of the entitlement infection that we may have acquired along the way for this to be authentic, genuine, and effective – is how we lead.

If you have not yet read Building Trust and Being Trustworthy, I strongly urge you to read it. The must-have traits to build trust and be trustworthy are the core of quintessential leadership and they are the complete antithesis of – and the antidote to – entitlement and narcissism.

So you’re reading this and thinking “I don’t think I’m entitled and I’m certainly not a narcissist! I don’t need to read this because it doesn’t apply to me.” 

Keep reading. You are in for enlightenment if you are brave enough and honest enough to go on. And with enlightenment comes understanding and with understanding comes the potential to change. The choice to change is individual. And that’s on you. And that’s on me.

While not every person who feels entitled is a full-blown narcissist, most of American society has absorbed many of the narcissistic components of entitlement without even being aware of it. Everything in our culture is narcissistic and feeds our sense of entitlement if we don’t recognize it and consciously reject it.

Recognition is the first step to fighting the narcissism infection in our own lives. Pay attention to advertising (all forms of media). The underlying message is always “You’re special and you deserve this.” That idea of specialness and I’m owed this takes root and it begins the process of narcissism infection.

The reality, however, is that if everyone is special, then no one is special because the word “special” – which denotes being exceptional, unusual, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, and outstanding – loses its meaning.

We can’t all be special. In fact, we’re not all special. And, yet, that underlying notion of being special is rampant in our society. What this message of being special does is separate us from each other and it turns a blind eye to the fact that we, humanity, you and I, have much, much more in common than we have that makes us different. 

The idea of being special also causes us to think better of ourselves than we should and certainly exalts our opinions of ourselves compared to other people to dizzying heights. And because we’re inherently superior, in our own minds, to all the other lowly humans on the planet, we simultaneously turn our all attention completely to ourselves and expect the other 7+ billion people on the planet to turn all their attention to us too.

I doubt many of us are aware of how this narcissistic tendency has taken hold in our lives because we have absorbed the subliminal and not-so-subliminal messages that our culture throws at us at every turn. 

But I’m asking us to take the time to examine our lives and see where we’ve become narcissistic and entitled in our own lives.

As quintessential leaders – and as I’ve said before, we all lead a team or teams somewhere in our lives, as parents, as teachers, as athletic coaches, as pastors, as organizational leaders, as team leaders in an organizational setting, so this applies to all of us – we must be aware of how much this has infected our own lives and make an immediate and diligent effort to eradicate it, not only from ourselves, but also from our teams.

Nowhere is the narcissism epidemic more visible and more prevalent than on social media. That’s the first place that I suggest that each of us goes to examine ourselves because the volume and content of our social media accounts will give us a pretty good indication of how much entitlement and narcissism we’ve acquired in our own thinking and our own beliefs. 

Examples are constant updates that try to garner attention to ourselves, whether they are a non-ending stream of selfies or things that draw attention to us personally, or they are cryptic one or two-word messages like “Confused…” or “Sad…” or “SMH (shaking my head)…” or “Oh, bother!” that literally scream out “I need attention. I need an audience. Come talk to me. NOW!” 

Or they are simply a blow-by-blow account of every little part of our normal, ordinary, mundane, and, for the most part, boring lives, which is an unconscious way of saying “my normal, ordinary, mundane, and, for the most part, boring life is so important that you all need to know about it and pay attention to it.” In other words, my life and I are special.

If you have not read my three-part book review series on Michael Harris’ The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, please take some time to do that because digital technology and our constant connection to it plays a vital role in the widespread, across generational lines, infection of entitlement and narcissism in our society and in our culture. 

awesome special or narcissism?
This idea of specialness is insidious. 
These two images with this paragraph look harmless enough, right? And, yet, what is the real message here? You’re special. And being special means that the rules don’t apply to self-esteem or narcissism?you. You’re above correction, you’re your own person, you deserve the best, and you deserve everything you want whenever you want it just because you want it. You don’t have to cooperate with anyone. You don’t have to think about anybody but yourself.

And, if things don’t go right for you, well, everybody else is the problem, because it can’t possibly be such an awesome, wonderful, special, fabulous, spectacular, nobody-else-in-the-world-like-you, pinnacle-of-all-the-best-that-defines-humanity person that you are.

Writing that last paragraph made me queasy. But I think my queasiness comes from a realization that what that paragraph says is not far from the truth of how the majority of people see themselves in U.S. culture and society. That majority may include you and me.

And the sad reality is that it’s not true. 

So how do we as quintessential leaders eradicate entitlement and narcissism from ourselves and from our teams? This will be one of the the most daunting processes, I suspect, that we will undertake. But undertake it we must.

We have to recognize how entitlement (and narcissism) manifests itself.

Entitled people believe self-admiration is very important (and necessary). Entitled people also believe that self-expression (“I should be allowed to say whatever I want to say, however I want to say it, whenever I want to say it, wherever I want to say it.”) is necessary to establish their identities. Entitled people don’t recognize limits or boundaries.

Entitled people believe that just showing up is praiseworthy (think of little kids on a sports team with a losing season because they either stank as players or they were too distracted to play getting trophies just like the teams that were good and actually played the sport – it happens all the time), and that any effort (we all know someone who always says “But, I worked SO hard…” while they either never actually complete anything or what they do is so lousy that it has to be redone – by someone else – all over again) is deserving of recognition whether it produces anything good or not.

Entitled people hold everybody accountable and responsible except themselves. If something goes wrong, it’s somebody else’s or something else’s fault. They are blameless and faultless.

Entitled people let other people do their “dirty work.”

I have a close friend who works at a university in a department that is responsible for auditing student records to determine who is eligible for graduation each semester and who is not.

She and her team email (several times) students who should be eligible for graduation but are missing classes they need to be able to graduate well in advance of their anticipated graduation date so the students can do what they need to graduate on time.

Every semester, just before – and I mean two or three days before – graduation, my friend and her team get tons of phone calls about why students aren’t going to graduate and why they should be allowed to graduate (because they “deserve it” is usually the reasoning). The majority of these phone calls, however, come from the parents of the students, not the students themselves. 

And more and more common are the stories of younger employees who bring their parents to their job interviews and have their parents call to request vacation time or to fight with a company that’s terminated them because they either couldn’t do the job or they actually didn’t show up.

And that leads to a final point about entitled people. Entitled people believe their time is more valuable than anyone else’s time and that life should conform to their schedule instead of them conforming to life’s schedules. 

As quintessential leaders, whether we see entitlement and narcissism in ourselves or in ourselves and our teams or just in our teams, we must proactively remove it and replace it with the opposite, which is humility.

We do this first by treating all people fairly, without preferential treatment and without favoritism. Sometimes this means that we take corrective action with team members who are not meeting organizational standards and/or performance standards.

But this corrective action develops as a coaching process that starts as soon as we recognize that issues exist. This is part of a comprehensive performance management system that most organizations don’t see nor use as a year-round tool to develop employees, which is the goal of quintessential leaders.

Most organizations, instead, use a single part of a performance management system once a year. This is in the form of a review (which, in many cases, is tied to a raise), without any action plans, improvement plans, and side-by-side monitoring and coaching beforehand, at the end of the business year to hit people over the head with regarding things they didn’t even realize were an issue or that they were being evaluated on. And that is detrimental all the way around and is not quintessential leadership.

Some entitled people won’t change, no matter what we do as coaches and mentors to try to help them. That’s the reality. The narcissism is too entrenched and too much a part of who and what they are for them to do and be anything else. And the end result is either they resign (they won’t be told what to do or have limits set on them) or we terminate them (they never even attempt to meet organizational and/or performance standards).

But some entitled people will change, and it’s up to us as quintessential leaders to help them in that process. It won’t always be a piece of cake for anybody involved, but commitment and diligence on both sides to the process and to the end results of the process will eventually bring about the desired results. I know because I’ve been involved in this kind of process several times, and I can tell you it is so worth it when both people are committed to making it happen.

Coach Dean Smith UNC Quintessential LeaderAnother thing that we as quintessential leaders need to do to counter the entitlement/narcissism epidemic is to model and foster cooperation and teamwork, instead of making individuals on our teams the center of the universe. The late Coach Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina did this with every team he coached and I discussed how this helped the 1982 team win the NCAA championship over Georgetown, which had a single “superstar,” Patrick Ewing.

We consciously build teams to bring different talents to the table, but no talent alone is any greater or any more important than any other talent. Without all the talents, the team wouldn’t exist and we could not accomplish anything. Therefore, we must model and demand respect for and among the team. While we recognize uniqueness where it exists, we must be careful not to equate uniqueness with specialness. They are not the same thing. 

And one of the most important things that we as quintessential leaders must do as an antidote to entitlement and/or narcissism is to let people fail in a safe environment, where failure equals an opportunity to learn and grow instead of equaling derision, at best, and termination, at worst.  

The greatest lessons we learn in life and our greatest periods of growth often come as a result of failure (sometimes it’s spectacular and sometimes it’s not). In this age of entitlement, failure is missing and, as a result, so are growth and life lessons we can’t learn exactly the same way any other way.  

Parents are now accustomed to swooping in to save their kids from failure by doing homework, calling the university to try to get their kids graduated, going on job interviews with them, and negotiating with employers for benefits or after termination. 

Failures in the workplace often mean delays (which mean that other projects get delayed and potential profits get delayed), more work for the team, and possible negative consequences for the team leader if a project misses a milestone or misses a completion deadline. 

Because of this, it’s tempting for people in leadership positions to want to swoop in and fix everything and save the day. As quintessential leaders, we can’t do that. We have to be willing to stand in the gap and take the heat for delays and setbacks so that our teams have a safe place to fail and to learn from those failures.  

We can never forget the bigger picture that we are in the process of developing quintessential leaders. And quintessentials leaders fail at times. They have to face it. They have to deal with it. And they have to learn how to recover from it.

The bottom line is that if someone has never been allowed to fail, they will never be successful at living life and they will certainly never be quintessential leaders.

Failure forces us to look at ourselves honestly. It forces us to change. And it forces us to get up and try again. And again. And again. In the process of trying over and over, growth occurs because our character gets sharpened, our perspective gets broadened, and our ability to think outside the box gets stronger. We think, we create, we innovate. And sometimes we simply take a leap of faith into the unknown because there are no other options available.

The other side of experiencing failure is that it creates empathy, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and mercy in us toward others when they are dealing with a failure. We can help them, we can encourage them, and we can support them, because we share a common bond with them. 

Entitled people don’t do this, by the way. They gloat over others’ failures and they use those failures to put themselves on an even higher pedestal. Entitled people also ridicule other’s failures and they broadcast those failures to as many people who will listen, often dismissing those who have failed as weak, negative, a drain on their lives, and not worth any effort because all they do is feel sorry for themselves.

When we see this, we’re looking at narcissism and entitlement square in the face. There is a complete lack of connection to anything that doesn’t make them feel good or feel special. Failure does neither.

Failure is not all doom and gloom all the time, but it has its moments and a lot of ups and downs as people who are actually trying to navigate through failures are looking for avenues to overcome those failures.

Like anything else in life, failure is a lot like success in that most of the roads you take end up being dead ends and you have to start over again, which can get real old real fast, to try to find those few roads that are not.

But the thing that entitled people will never know is that our failures ultimately strengthen us and they forge excellent character because they leave us no choice but to confront all the things we normally avoid, that we’re afraid of, that are way outside our comfort zones, and that compel us to make, sometimes, really hard choices about what’s important and what’s not in every aspect of our lives. 

So the questions I leave us – you and me – with are simple.

Are we part of the entitlement/narcissism epidemic?

If we have been infected with entitlement/narcissism, are we going to do anything about it?

If we are going to do something about it, then what are we going to do and when are we going to do it?

Talk is cheap, my friends. Actions always speak louder than words.

the quintessential leader building trust and being trust worthy book

In the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy.

In the subsequent chapter excerpts detailing the components we need to have and develop to build trust and be trustworthy, chapter 2 discusses honesty, and chapter 3 discusses integrity.

This post, which includes an excerpt from chapter 4, discusses the component of fairness that builds trust and makes us trustworthy. 

A lack of fairness when dealing with people and situations destroys their trust in us and our trustworthiness to them. It’s unusual to see fairness in application anywhere in society today. Favoritism and partiality abounds wherever we look and wherever we are.

And that is unquintessential leadership. No matter who does it. No matter how it occurs. No matter how many excuses and justifications are given for the unfairness (and there are plenty). 

In the end, being unfair in our treatment of people is a trust and trustworthy breaker.

Building trust and being trustworthy is an integrated trait of quintessential leaders.

It is also an integrated trait that all of us – because each and every one of us leads at least one team, small or large, of people in our lives – need to develop and have as part of the core of who we are and what we are. In essence, this trait is at the center of exemplary character and conduct, and none of us should settle for anything less than this in ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, most of us settle for less. A lot less. In ourselves. In others. 

The majority of people in leadership positions today are not trust builders and they are not trustworthy. Many of us, frankly, are also not trust builders and trustworthy.

We live in a world that with no moral code as its foundation that expects trust to be non-existent or broken. Look around. It’s everywhere, including, in many cases, very close to you.

And society has become so accustomed to this that it glorifies it instead of condemning it.

Politicians who lie routinely, who line their pockets with money and perks while making decisions that hurt and destroy the people they are supposed to represent, who cheat on their wives because they can.

Arts and sports celebrities who have no regard for faithfulness to their spouses, who live hedonistic lifestyles that destroy their families, the people around them, and, eventually their lives.

Religious leaders who cheat on their wives, who cheat on their taxes, and who scam their congregations both in how they deceitfully handle the word of God and in coercive and corrupt financial matters, acquiring wealth and power in the process.

Business leaders who destroy millions of lives by deceit, fraud, and illegal actions that result in their employees and customers losing everything while they escape any kind of punitive action and instead reap obscene profits and end their tenures – only to go to another financially lucrative position – with golden parachutes that are equally obscene.

And we, as individual leaders for our teams, who cheat on our taxes, who are routinely dishonest with the children (our own and others) and other people entrusted to us, who routinely steal things from our workplaces (you most likely didn’t pay for that pen you’re using at work, so it doesn’t belong to you), who routinely break traffic laws, who will walk out of stores with something we were not charged for and never think twice about it, who will take extra money that we’re not owed in financial transactions without blinking an eye, who cheat on our spouses, who marry until “divorce do us part,” and who, as a course of habit, break confidences of family and friends, gossip about family and friends behind their backs, and destroy reputations in the process.

Maybe we haven’t thought about building trust and being trustworthy at this kind of nitty gritty level.

But until we do – and we develop and have this trait as the core of who and what we are – we will not build trust and we will not be trustworthy. And we will not be quintessential leaders.

Trust and trustworthiness is probably the single most important trait we can possess. And it is also the most fragile.

It can take a long time to build and be, but it can be broken irreparably in a single second.

Therefore, this is a lifetime work on and in ourselves that we must commit to making an integral part of our character by continually developing it, maintaining it, and growing it. 

This goal should be our goal.

But it requires courage. It requires diligence. It requires vigilance. It requires continual self-examination. It requires continual change. It requires the ability to, much of the time, stand alone to maintain.

It is not for the faint-hearted. It is not for the vacillators. It is not for the crowd-pleasers. It is not for the pretenders. It is not for the wannabes. It is not for the weak.

But if you’re reading this, I know that you’re not any of those kinds of people. Those kinds of people won’t even read this because it requires time, effort, change, and commitment, and too many of us are, sadly, either just too lazy or we just don’t care. 

Building Trust and Being Trustworthy takes an in-depth look at the “this is what it looks like in practice” aspect of each of the components we need to develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy. The second chapter discusses the component of honesty in building trust and being trustworthy.

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Excerpt from”Chapter 4: The Fairness Component of Trust and Trustworthiness”

There is no simple definition of fairness, but it can best be described as having objective standards and rules that apply – and are applied – to everyone across the board without exception and being unbiased and unprejudiced in dealing with all people.

Quintessential leaders must have this trait in order to earn trust and to become trustworthy, because people will always respond favorably – even when there is a negative consequence for non-adherence – to someone who doesn’t bend the rules, play favorites, or have different sets of standards and rules for different people or groups of people.

The reality is we all encounter issues with fairness very early in life.

Often we first experience it within our families, where consciously or unconsciously, parents may have a “favorite” child and that child seemingly can do no wrong and gets away with murder, so to speak, while the other children are routinely held accountable for adhering to the family rules.

This sets up sibling rivalry, which can have devastatingly divisive consequences for the family far into the future.

We next experience it our extra-familial settings: school, sports, church, clubs, etc. We’ve all seen this first-hand in the form of teachers’ pets, the star athletes, pastors’ kids (PK’s), and within social and civic clubs like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. If we weren’t among any of these groups of people, then we often saw and experienced first-hand the unfairness of treatment.

Teachers’ pets, for example, never had to write “I will not talk in class.” 500 times, while we, even if we weren’t talking, had to write the hand-numbing sentences along with the people who were actually talking.

Star athletes could flagrantly break all the team rules and still be on the team and playing, while we, if we broke just one and were caught, were either suspended for several games or kicked off the team altogether.

Pastors’ kids – and I have a lot of good friends who grew up PK’s, so I’m not picking on them because they’re pretty acutely aware of both the preferential treatment they received as well as the fishbowl scrutiny they lived under – were often the wildest kids in church, yet they were not punished, while most of us, if we broke the rules and got caught, had the heavy hand of punishment dropped on us like a ton of bricks.

And in our adult lives, we experience the same kind of unfairness in the workplace. We watch colleagues, who are friends with or liked by their superiors, get special advantages, promotions that are not related to ability and suitability, and no consequences for circumventing or breaking organizational rules and policies or for doing illegal and immoral things.

We have worked among brown-nosers and suck-ups who take advantage of the lack of fairness that is prevalent among many people who are in leadership positions and we watch them rise through the ranks, not on merit or hard work, but because of their attachment or affiliation with upper management.

In the South, for example, there seems to be an unwritten law that, regardless of experience and qualifications, a person will not gain employment with an organization unless he or she is “from around here,” is related to someone in the organization, knows someone well-placed in the organization, or is friends with someone well-placed in the organization.”

Recent scientific research has revealed that the brain has a special cell – called a “grid cell” – that functions as a global positioning system (GPS), enabling us to continually know where we are in relationship to all the routes we take while physically moving about and storing those as memories that we retrieve when we traverse a route we have already traveled before.

I am not sure I have this neurological GPS grid cell. From my earliest memories, I have been prone to getting lost, not just my first time going some place, but often every time, especially if it’s a place I travel to infrequently. My lack in this area is so pronounced that – and this is rare, but it’s happened enough to give me pause – in the dark, especially, I get turned around in my own house and walk into the wrong room. 

In addition, I’m directionally-challenged. North, south, east, and west are beyond my scope of understanding in real life (I can tell you where they are on a map). If I have to point in a direction, I usually point in the wrong direction. I have to remind myself of my elementary school science that the sun rises in the east and it sets in the west so that twice a day I know where east and west are.

This directional challenge is even worse when I get directions from someone who uses north, south, east, and west as descriptors to explain how to get from point A to point B.

You know just how directionally-challenged you are when you actually prefer a perplexing propensity (probably not unique to northeast Tennessee, but I haven’t run into as much anywhere else in the country as I have here) to use non-existent landmarks and vague measurements with no road names as driving directions that might be less likely to get you lost.

Even when the directions sound like this: “you go down there (pointing in the direction you need to go), and you go past where that big ol’ tobaccer barn useta be, and then you kinda curve around a little, and then you go to the red light, and then you go right, and it’s just a little ways after that.”

So when I bought my first GPS for the car, I was elated.

It was actually very comforting and soothing for me because I tend to panic when I get lost and the fear of the uncertainty of knowing what to do next – if I stay where I am, I’m still lost, but if I move from where I am, then I may get even more lost – has been a permanent fixture of my life since the day I got my driver’s license.

Never again would I have to worry about getting lost again while driving. Because even if I had no clue where I was and where I needed to go, it did and would get me there reliably. I could trust it to navigate me correctly, no matter what.

Quintessential leaders have a similar GPS that doesn’t come pre-programmed, doesn’t depend on satellites hovering above earth’s atmosphere, and doesn’t have to worry about outages because of sunspots or solar flares.

This GPS is developed over time, the product of having an absolute moral foundation of right and wrong, adhering consistently to that absolute moral foundation of right and wrong, and having that adherence become an integral part of who we are and what we do, no matter what.

character gps system quintessential leaderThe quintessential leader’s GPS is character.

Character tells us what our position is no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter who we’re with, no matter what other factors, familiar or unfamiliar, are involved. It ensures that we accurately and consistently navigate life, no matter where life takes us or what life throws at us.

But there’s always a caveat with global positioning systems that we as quintessential leaders need to be aware of, recognize, and resist.

The first time I turned my GPS on in my car, I was driving from my house to an interstate on a route that I could drive with my eyes closed. Almost as soon as I’d pulled out of my driveway, the GPS started telling me to go to a different road and take a different route to the interstate. I vividly remember arguing out loud – and with vigor – with the GPS.

“I’m not going that way. I always go this way. I know you think I ought to do something different, but I’m not going to. Enough already!”

The more I resisted going the way the GPS was telling me to go, the more it talked to me telling me I was not going the way it wanted me to go. And the more loudly I responded to it, trying to drown out the voice, trying to get it to be quiet, trying to convince it that I was right and it was wrong, it seemed the louder and more insistent it got.

Similarly, we have to be aware that we can do the same thing with our character GPS. It will always lead us and guide us the right way, but we have to be aware that we can chose to ignore it or override it or even turn it off. It won’t force us to do the right thing. That’s a choice we have to make. Every time.

Going or doing something the way we always have gone or done it may not be wrong. However, it may also not be the best way. What our character GPS does is make us actively stop and be consciously aware and thinking about that more carefully as that internal voice guides our attitudes, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our actions.

How often do we argue with our character GPS? How often do we rationalize doing something different than what it is telling us to do? How often do we make excuses for not following the directions it’s giving us? How often do we completely ignore it? How often do we just turn it off?

I know we all do at times. I know because I am guilty of having done this and doing this at times. Unfortunately, it seems that is part of being human and the struggle that humans encounter continually. Sometimes we struggle well and succeed. Other times we struggle poorly and we fail.

However, as quintessential leaders, our character global positioning systems should be already very well-developed, with updates being applied as they become available, so that, even though the struggles never go away entirely, we experience them less often and when we do experience them, we succeed much more than we fail.

In conjunction with this on-going development of our character global positioning systems, we will find that we are less apt to argue with, to rationalize around, to make excuses about, to ignore, or to completely turn them off.

Instead, we listen, we pay attention and we follow the route without deviation, without detours, and without exceptions. Every time. All the time.

Developing a character GPS takes commitment. It takes time. It takes a lot of effort. It also, often, means going completely counter to prevailing systems, ideas, methods, social norms, business norms, and life norms.

It’s important to remember that just because everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean everybody else is right.

For quintessential leaders, one of the first things we discover is that, in many cases, everybody else has settled for low standards or no standards. That’s hardly something we’d consider a worthy gauge against which to measure ourselves.

Quintessential leaders must dare to be and to do not only differently than the status quo, but also to replace it with the traits that make up our character global positioning systems: honesty, integrity, consistency, fairness, setting a higher standard, righting wrongs, accountability, sincerity, and setting boundaries.

How are we doing?

Quintessential leaders have established, unchanging, unwavering – absolute – principles of integrity, honesty, fairness, accountability, and responsibility that they consistently adhere to and consistently expect the members of their teams to adhere to. This is the foundation of what builds trust in quintessential leaders and what makes them be trustworthy.

But there are many more attributes and characteristics – the “who you are” aspect of each of us – that distinguish quintessential leaders from everyone else. Today’s post will look at the attribute of courage. (more…)

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These eBooks are worth far more in experience and the time taken to put them together than they are priced at. You, as a quintessential leader, can’t afford the cost of not having the information they contain.

You have a choice. Save a few dollars and fail to be a quintessential leader, or spend a few dollars and learn what are some of the things quintessential leaders look like – and don’t look like – and what some of the things quintessential leaders do and are – and don’t do and aren’t. This is an investment in yourself and your team.

I don’t have all the answers either. I am learning just like you. But as I learn, I share my knowledge and my experience. That’s how I become a more quintessential leader. I believe in paying forward. What do you do to become a more quintessential leader? How do you pay forward what you’ve learned and experienced?

Whether you buy my eBooks or not is not important. But what you do with what you learn and what your experience has taught, is teaching, and will teach you is.

Think about that. When it’s all said and said, that’s all we’re left with. It’s a legacy. What is your legacy going to look like?