Let’s look at character through a series of IF-THEN questions. For example IF character is defined as xyz, THEN how does that impact a person’s ability to lead others effectively?

IF we describe character as our nature (in its current state), what we have become thus far in our life’s journey…

IF it is as dictionaries call it:

  • the inherent complex of attributes that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions.
  • the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
  • moral or ethical quality

IF character is the manifestation of what we are becoming, a snapshot in the movie of life that hints at future scenes.

IF character is as James Allen states in his 1902 book called As A Man Thinketh that “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”…

THEN what is the impact of character on leadership?

The US Army’s leadership training describes the influence of character in leading as follows,

“Character helps you determine what’s right and motivates you to do it, regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Since leaders seek to do what’s right and inspire others to do the same, leaders must be concerned with character development.”

With the many examples of ethical and moral lapses with business leaders from 2000-2010, it also becomes clear that a leader’s character has a huge impact on ethical decision-making when faced with a dilemma. Enron’s collapse showed that concern over the consequences kept the key leaders from acting ethically.

So IF character is closely tied to leadership, THEN perhaps we can do more to help children develop a strong character before their dilemmas arrive to test them.

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KW Lanham



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