Character Creates Leadership Success

Leadership is such a broad subject with many important subcategories.

We are in a time of great challenge to our leaders both inside and outside of healthcare. Great challenge creates great stress. Our leaders live and work in a fishbowl and must realize that every move they make whether it's verbal or nonverbal will be noticed and analyzed.

Good leadership, as with anything else, starts with character. Everybody wants it, but it has so many definitions. Everybody sees a lack of it in others but not in themselves.

I'm in the process of reading the book, "Louder than Words," by Andy Stanley. I'm not finished with the book but I'm enthralled with the subject matter. It focuses on the definition of character. Because I'm faith-based, I will adhere to Andy's following definition:

Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.

So easily stated, it's so difficult to achieve. Perhaps it's like mastery, we strive for it, but never get there. For others who are not faith oriented, I would suggest defining what the right thing is but not changing the second half of the definition.

Leadership Starts Here: Doing the Right Thing

Secondarily, leaders did not get to where they are today without utilizing strengths that have made them successful. But under stress, those same strengths can become weaknesses. Beyond that, everyone has certain "derailers" that can be triggered by stress as well as other influencers. By giving into these triggers, the ability to keep good character intact becomes difficult.

Recognition, or awareness, of the "derailers" is not always present within the leader. Leaders should develop feedback mechanisms that they can rely on and will accept. Gaining awareness of these triggers/influencers is a highly valuable personal investment. Once these triggers are identified, passionately pursue how to change them.

In stressful challenging times, these two components are essential to successful long-term leadership.

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