As a 19 year old stepping into leadership I knew nothing about the importance of character and how that would influence my ability to lead others. After all, I was just 19. Nothing bothered me. It was all new to me, I was just trying to figure out how to do stuff.
Looking back, my behaviour at times could probably be described as ‘suspect’.
My people skills were fairly ‘non-existent’.
My attitude was pretty ‘carefree’.
Early days in leadership affords you some slack. Actually, I’m not sure how I got a way with some stuff. Maybe I didn’t, I just thought I did. I know that 25 years on I am different. I am not perfect, I still make mistakes but am hopeful that my character has developed along the way. I am certain if it hadn’t, then I would not be in a position of leadership today.
Character might not be the only thing I have had to pay attention to over the years but it’s definitely one of the most important. Good character builds trust and trust is the foundation of any leadership. Added to competence and consistency, these are three of the ingredients that make an individual a really strong leader.
I am thankful for the likes of Kevin & Tina Hudson who spoke into my life in those early days and others after that. Those conversations helped to shape me, challenge me, correct me and grow me into who I am today, which I hope is someone who is a better leader. Add God in to that and the part He has played in my life too, reading the Word, hearing a message or responding to a call to the Altar and I am more than I could have ever been from my own efforts.
Good character does not appear over night. It grows. It develops. It is nurtured. Here is what I have learned when it comes to the development of my own character…
- Always be teachable
- Learn from your mistakes
- Ask questions of the right people
- Be willing to have the tough conversations
- Admit when you are wrong
- ‘It’s the way I am’ is not a reason for poor character
- Growing pains are not comfortable
- It’s worth the investment – you will be a better person and leader
I think I will unpack some of these in future posts.
What would you add to the list?