Personal character, especially as a leader, will always define the kind of impact we have on those we lead. Sound emphatic? Yes. Why? Our personal skills and abilities, the stuff that gets work done, while important, only becomes positive, engaging, and desired when we relate to others with character that builds, supports, encourages, and honors. Put another way, when we put anything else above those we work with – profits, results, success – we leave a deposit in their hearts of mistrust, dishonor, and a devaluing of their own worth. Even worse, when our words and actions don’t connect, the hypocrisy is devastating to relational truth, trust, and connection.
Let’s make this real. Which would you want in your life? A leader who can get things done despite their non-valuing treatment of you and others; or, one who makes priority and leads (mostly by their action) with their ability to help you believe you are valued and important? Asking yourself how you want to be led is insightful, and an important step towards defining yourself as a leader.
So, which kind of leader have you been to present? To answer honestly takes truth principles that can go past our own personal story we rehearse in our heads about ourselves and point to what’s real. Most, if not all of us, tend to carefully craft personal stories of who we are based more on our intentions than our actions and behaviors those around us experience in real time. If we do this over and over, no wonder why we are not trusted or believed. In contrast, our desire and action to grow in honest assessment of ourselves becomes a key “truth teller” of the kind of impact we have as leaders. Here is one of these principles to consider…
How you relate to others on your worst day reflects a truer version of your real character than that on your best day. MGF
Take a moment to reflect on past “worst/bad days”, and what came out of you in behavior to others around you. Add to your personal assessment what have others shared with you about what they experienced on these same days. Together, the consistent details now support a more accurate storyline of your character for those days. Now that you have a more accurate reality, you now have a choice in moving forward…
- Revise the story line to justify your behavior (denial);
- Ignore the story line and stay on the same relational trajectory with yourself and others (denial/apathy), or
- Embrace what you discover as a truth to process towards change (accountability/ownership).
Personal character assessment takes detailed honesty not only with ourselves personally, but also a willingness to embrace what others have experienced from us. All circumstances, especially those we would call our “worst days”, can be catalysts for celebration (when we treat others well) AND growth (when we don’t). To value yourself means to live authentically valuing others in both your internal and external lives, no matter the circumstances, and to challenge ourselves to change when we don’t. Let’s encourage each other as valued leaders wanting to grow with more honest character assessment and change.