The Leaderís Character

The Leaderís Character


By Luciana Gazzoni, consultant, interculturalist and specialist in people management and leadership

 I have been working with the development of leaders for many years, and I have read and thought a great deal about what actually yields results to organizations in this area. The first major challenge is to make managers understand their role in the organization. Or rather, understand and take responsibility for it. And in this process, leaders need to manage their time differently, learn new people management skills and represent the organization (even when they do not agree with the rules and the direction!). 

However, all of this becomes insufficient if a leader does not understand that building trust must be their main responsibility. Nothing is more inspiring than a relationship based on trust. Nothing is as profitable as the economic result derived from it. Trust changes everything.  

And what is trust? According to Stephen Covey, it is the combination of character and competence. Understanding this allowed me to broaden my perspective of the reason why many leadership programs simply do not yield results. We have worked exhaustively on the leader competences, but maybe we have set character aside!

Then I set out on a journey to understand it. I used to think that character was something that people either have or do not have. Something we are born with. Do you also think like that? Well, I have found that, even though it is easier when a person learns about character at home, it is still possible to learn and develop a good character throughout life. And this idea made me hopeful about leaders. I have observed that many leaders in organizations not only act like amateurs when it comes to people management but also behave in such ways as to stir doubt about their own character among their collaborators. 

There are four cores of credibility:

  1. Integrity: many people relate this word to honesty. It is more than that. It is about practicing what you preach. It is about being consistent and brave enough to act according to your values and beliefs. Do you walk the talk?
  2. Intention: it is about a genuine concern with the well-being of the people with whom we interact, who we address or who we serve, and not only with ourselves. It is about not having any hidden agenda. Do you have a hidden agenda?

Both integrity and intention are related to people’s character.

  1. Capacities: the means we employ to produce results. For example: when it comes to a medical doctor, we cannot trust exclusively in his or her integrity. We need to trust in his or her capacity to make a diagnostic and propose a solution. Leaders likewise. Are your capacities relevant to the organization?
  2. Results: this core refers to when we get the results we promised, and when we succeed with implementing a plan.  What are your evidences of results?

Both the questions on capabilities and the questions on results are questions about competencies.

And what about you: have you been inspiring trust? Have you invested in these four cores of credibility? Remember that people do not perceive your intention; rather, they see your behavior.

“The best moment to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second, best moment is now”. Chinese Proverb


Would you like to learn more? I recommend the book The Speed of Trust, by Stephen Covey. 

Would you like your leaders to be developed along the four credibility cores? Just contact us ;)