WHAT DOES CHARACTER HAVE TO DO WITH LEADERSHIP

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Source. Internet

A leader is someone who is able to influence others towards reaching a goal, completing a mission or creating new ideas. Leaders are people who institute change, influence a situation or can bring creative problem solving to existing problems. According to Kathy Heasley, leadership is being bold enough to have vision and humble enough to recognize achieving it will take the efforts of many people- people who are most fulfilled when they share their gifts and talents, rather than just work. Leaders create that culture, serve that greater good and let others soar. Andrea Walker-Leidy, owner of Walker Publicity Consulting describes leadership as the ability to see a problem and be the solution. In the words of John Maxwell, leadership is influence. This is because, as he further said, everything rises and falls on leadership.
Character on the other hand essentially represents who we are and what our interests and values are. Originating from the Greek word charassein, which means to scratch or engrave, Hillman in Spears L.C (2000) defines character as an “invisible source of personal consistency” and “deep structures of personality that are particularly resistant to change. “We define character as personal integrity . . . the individual is undivided in his or her fundamental beliefs and attitudes, presenting those values to everyone . . . it is the strength and conviction to stand one’s ground and make the morally right decision even when it is difficult.”Gavin J.H et al (2003).
In the words of Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Institute for Advancement of Ethics, “What we will achieve as executives and leaders will be shaped far more by the collection of dispositions, habits and attitudes that make up our character than by our education or skills . . . the destiny of individuals is determined by personal character, the destiny of an organization is determined by the character of its leadership.”
It is evident from the foregoing that leadership is all about character. Leadership character attributes that have been universally identified over the years are integrity, wisdom, thoughtfulness, cooperativeness, fairness, respectfulness, compassion, passion, competency, courage, generosity, initiative, attitude and responsibility amongst others. These have been exemplified in the lives of renowned successful leaders such as Margaret Thatcher of Britain who stood for courage and responsibility, Mahatma Ghandi who stood for wisdom, a positive attitude and initiative. Character promotes efficiency, it promotes effectiveness. Character driven leadership is proactive and result oriented. It ensures positive influence and enhances sustainable legacies. In his speech at the civil rights march of the 23rd August 1963, Martin Luther King Jnr dreamed of the days when people will be judged by the content of their character as against the colour of their skin. As far as leadership in the twenty first century is concerned, this dream has come to pass. British Air Marshall Bernard Montgomery sums it all up by saying, “Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”

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