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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Great Leaders: Good Character

The first, primary characteristic of a great leader, is good character. To explain this one to groups I speak to, I give examples, and we talk about the 5 C’s:
1: Complete Honesty. Telling the truth, even when it hurts, with clients and colleagues, is central to credibility. In surveys by researchers regarding commonly held values—honesty comes out #.1
2.Communication: People have to know what leaders are thinking. So, tell, write, or text them, but let them know. Without information, rumors (often-worst-case scenario type rumors) abound. With current, reliable information, a sense of being value and stability pervades. Great leaders have the capacity to keep people informed.
3.Commitment: People want to know if leaders are in for the long haul or not. Anyone can come into an organization and make a splash, touch a management base in a career development system, and move on. But the great ones focus on right where they are now, not how fast they can get to the next place.
4.Consistency: An even hand, one that plays fairly and consistently, wins the day. Colleagues just want to know that whoever shows up on day 1 is the same person on day 2 and so on. We all want reliability in an effective leader.
5.Courage: Doing the right thing is never easy. George Washington was revered as a great leader precisely because he consistently answered the call of his country and did what was best for the country. Focusing on a thing of value, something beyond ourselves and having the courage to stand for it, separates great leaders apart from the rest.

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