Whether we work for an organization or running our own business, we are always striving to provide exemplary services to our clients and in the process focus on our individual and team performance. We try to do this by improving our Competencies – set of skills and behaviors that make an impact on various tasks and goals that we have committed to perform.

Lately, there is a significant shift in the external environment from developing and improving Competencies to nurturing and sustaining Character, a set of behaviors rooted in values but limited to our personal development.  Character is now viewed as key to success both in business and relationships (a personal domain). I would like to discuss how developing and nurturing our character can power us to become leaders and make sustainable changes in our personal and business lives.

According to David Lapin, author of Lead by Greatness, a book that articulates “how character can power your success”, there are eight character traits that define great leaders which can be modified, adapted and expanded to fit the leadership needs of any given organization:

  • Authenticity: Exceptional leaders are vehemently authentic to their own values but are agile in the way they adapt to changing situations and diverse people.
  • Purpose: They have a sense of personal destiny, a purpose for which they believe they are born in this world.
  • Mastery: They master their defensive instincts and are able to choose an appropriate response to the most trying challenges.
  • Humility: They believe they are part of something bigger than themselves, and surround themselves with people who are each, in some ways, are better than they are.
  • Vulnerability: They courageously admit and confront their own vulnerability.
  • Generosity: They show sensitivity to other’s vulnerability and provide environments in which people feel safe enough of give of themselves generously.
  • Awareness: They are aware of different “lenses” through which people of different cultures and generations experience the world and know how to build trust and respect across those boundaries.
  • Wisdom: They trust their inner wisdom and access their greatness thereby unlocking greatness in others.

By the way, all of us are “Leaders’ in our own way (unlike “Manager” which is a role assigned by the organization with certain authority) and we have the ability to become great by nurturing our character and becoming a catalyst for change in ourselves and our environment, including the business we are part of. Enjoy the journey.

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