Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Having great leadership skills matters. If you can razzle-dazzle people with your technical skills, your deal-making, your problem-solving, or your forecasting chops, you can attract attention and often promotions. The problem is that deficits in character will begin to creep in and undermine you.
Leadership skills, no matter how advanced, cannot operate effectively apart from leadership character. The people-connecting parts of leadership flow from character.
Don’t confuse general character with leadership character. You can have impeccable character–be honest, loyal, dependable, and so on–and still not demonstrate leadership character. Leaders who don’t possess these are disqualified before they start. Successful leaders demonstrate additional qualities–the traits of leadership character.
Not only must leaders have skills but they must also achieve results. Effective leaders accept this responsibility without whining. But are results everything? Are results enough?
If people don’t see you demonstrating leadership character, they won’t see you as a leader, no matter how great your results. People will just see you as a talented individual contributor. Great to have on the team, but they won’t let you call the plays. They won’t ever let you lead.
Results achieved without leadership character will be short-lived. Sustaining results over the long haul requires organizational trust, sacrifice, and commitment to the mission. Leaders lacking character undermine all of these, dooming once celebrated results to flash-in-the-pan status.
In the end, your leadership will be judged not only by what you achieved, but also by your character… whether you created unity, served the greater good, and contributed to making this a better world. Your leadership legacy depends on the standards you set for yourself, not the standards you set for others.
Summing-up: Skills and results are critically important fo leaders. And also character. Great leaders set standards around character as well as results.