If you could identify the most important leadership quality, what would it be? Excellent communication skills? Vast experience and competence? Works well with others? Visionary mindset? If I could pick just one, it would be character. Without good character, it doesn’t matter if the leader gets things done, is inspirational, and has charisma to boot. Hitler had those three qualities, but he lacked character. Character trumps everything.
All the skills of a good leader are magnified by good character. So, how do we build good character? Michael Hyatt has a fantastic podcast episode on the 3 Forces that Shape Character. I’ll just give you a summary, but I recommend you listen to the whole podcast. In it, he outlines the three major forces that shape our character for good or for ill. They are:
- The input we consume.
- The relationships we pursue.
- The habits we acquire.
The Input We Consume
The media we expose ourselves to shapes our decisions and perspective. Think about the TV shows you watch, the books you read, the podcasts you listen to, etc. Are they uplifting? Challenging? Informational? Negative? Dark? Vulgar? Considering what you are consuming will help you shape your character.
The Relationships We Pursue
Hyatt quotes Jim Rohn, who said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Hyatt gives this example: if you want to lose weight, you should spend time with people who make good diet and exercise choices. This can be difficult at your job, since you can’t choose who you work with. However, you can choose whether or not to participate in the work gossip or complaining. Be intentional in your relationships in and outside of work.
The Habits We Acquire
Habits are things we do without thinking, so in many ways, they can be hard to control. Positive habits most often lead to positive outcomes. For instance, praising your employees in public leads to a positive work environment. If you have some bad habits, the good news is that you can change them. It’s hard to stop cold turkey, but it’s easier if you substitute a positive habit for a negative one. For instance, if you like to complain about your job, write a list of why you love your job instead. Keep it in your pocket and look at it throughout the day. Eventually, your thinking will change as well.
I challenge you this week to evaluate yourself in these three areas and make goals to improve where you need to. Better still, ask a friend to join you in taking steps toward a stronger character. Positively shaping your character will not only help you become a vibrant leader, but also an excellent individual as a whole.
What part of your character do you want to change for the better? How can you achieve that by changing your input, relationships, or habits? Share your goals in the comment section—we’d love to hear from you!
Have some room to grow? Dickerson, Bakker & Associates can reveal the character of your organization & how it can be used to positively shape your future. Contact us today!