Character is the bridge between who you actually are and who people expect you to be.
People automatically expect good character from their leaders, and that is a big reason why they agree to follow them. There are people in your organization who may never meet you face to face, but they will know your reputation because of your character. The great thing is that out of all the aspects of leadership, your character is the most controllable. You may not get to choose the context you are leading in, but you can choose how you will conduct yourself within that context. How do you best develop your character? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Do what you say you will do.
You must follow through, even when it is difficult. When you begin a task or goal, see it through to completion. Actions speak louder than words, and the people around you will notice if you are a person of your word.
2. Take responsibility for your decisions.
Instead of looking for ways to place blame on others, be a leader by owning your decisions. You are able to develop a new level of respect from others when you accept responsibility for your actions or failures. If you don’t want to own it, then don’t choose to do it.
3. Know your boundaries and the boundaries of others.
Do not allow your position of leadership to make you oblivious to the boundaries of those you lead. If you show respect, then you will earn respect in return.
4. Understand your strengths.
It is imperative when leading others to first understand yourself and where your strengths lie. You must work within your strengths and delegate those things that are not within your strengths. When you ask someone to do something you know you cannot or should not do, be sure to publicly praise and thank him or her. This will bring a new sense of community and encouragement to your workplace.
5. Know when to turn off the lights and go home.
Your job should not be your life; it is all about balance. Focusing only on your job can lead to exhaustion and frustration within the workplace. Lead by example, and encourage those you work with to spend time with their families by making time with your family a priority.
6. Learn to distinguish between your own needs and your wants.
A need is something you must have to survive or complete a task, whereas a want is simply the desire for something. Do not confuse the two, or use your position to treat your wants as needs.
You must live your life by always telling the truth. If you do this, you will never have to remember what you told different people, or how you carried out the expectations. If you expect truth from others, you must first show it in the way you lead and live your life.