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Your Leader Core: Leading with Character

I have spent a lot of time recently considering the intersection of leadership and character. As someone who "grew up" in the military, character was engrained early as a fundamental aspect of leadership -- as the U.S. Air Force states in its core values "Integrity First." Forever the student, I go to books - of various sorts, when I am thinking about a concept.

Part of my reflection comes from the leadership model I have constructed - with the first part being written this summer. The Leader Core is only the beginning (see picture below), but after decades of studying, observing, and practicing leadership, I continue to come back to these three key aspects of having a strong, centered leadership identity:

(1) Character - knowing who you are and who you are becoming by your actions

(2) Values - what you stand for; what matters to you

(3) Conditions for success - what do you need to protect your character and values (because the world will and does impact you -- how do you ensure that it doesn't)

Being someone who doesn't only stand on my own experience (though I do use it as a reflection point), character is the area that is the hardest, most nebulous aspect for me to capture in writing. And as I have gone through years of journals, notes, and observations, I continue to realize that without character - there will be a point at which a leader cannot meet the demands of a role; will succumb to power; will make a bad decision and fail to own it and seek to make it better.

Reflection Thoughts:

  1. How do you describe your character?

  2. How would others describe your character?

  3. If you asked - at work it is different than outside of work, why?

  4. Where are your gaps?

I'm definitely open to feedback on focusing so much on character. Please share if you support or think otherwise?

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