I love a good sitcom. Let’s be honest, I love watching tv. It helps me tune out from the worries of this world. There are some characters that I resonate with and others that just seem to bug me. I always seem to assess the bosses and leaders within these fictional shows. I’ll look at how they treat others, how they act behind closed doors, and their thoughts, as we often get that glimpse from a show. Although we aren’t talking about sitcom characters, we are talking about the qualities and character traits of the character they are playing.
Often what makes someone likable on a tv show is the same in real life, the character they display.
Your character is the moral, internal qualities which you display. Your character is intrinsic to who you are. It is your attributes.
It is said that your true character comes out when no one is watching. You have your guard down, you don’t think anyone will notice what you really do, but as I have seen time and again, what you do when no one is looking will come out.
Your character will shine through to those you lead. It will either lead to greater loyalty and engagement or less respect and decreased productivity.
What will spill out of you?
I love this example of character explained. It is in my book, So Your Boss Can’t Lead? but it is pertinent here as well.
“You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill coffee everywhere. Why did you spill your coffee? Well, because someone bumped into you, right? That’s the wrong answer. You spilled your coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in your cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside your cup will spill out.”
You will not be able to hide who you are. Actions always speak louder than words. Who you are will spill out of you with your actions and words.
Why does it matter if you are a person of great character?
Studies over the years have shown that people want to follow leaders who are honest, have integrity, are truthful, and trustworthy. This correlates to how your followers will work. If they trust you, believe that you are the type of person who holds true to your word, and not only out for yourself, they will be more loyal, put in more effort, and produce a higher quality product.
Leadership is twofold. It’s about your abilities and who you are (qualities) as a person. You cannot have one without the other. Who you are and your behavior as a leader have a significant impact on the culture of an organization.
When was it hard for you to follow someone because of the character they displayed? Go and do the opposite of what they did.
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Stephanie German is a leadership coach and consultant, author, and adjunct professor. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to raise up the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?