Character and Personality
In leadership, character plays a critical role in one's career. Few leaders get to understand its meaning and content thus missing much career and job opportunities. Everyone knows a character by having a look at it while a number of leaders are not aware what it is exactly. They don’t understand the precise role it plays in getting positive outcomes or what results it can bring into their careers. Therefore character can either break or make a career. For example, a major role of a character in leadership is to instill trust in individuals. Those that think the character of a leader has major defects will possibly not trust that leader and thus will not commit themselves entirely to acting in order to realize (Sosik and Cameron, 2010). If a leader is not capable of having trust in the people they leaders are deemed failures in the making. Leaders that have trust in their subjects can help them in getting the motivation to achieve greater and extraordinary things.
Getting understanding of the character and its association with leadership one needs to understand the root of the character first. It came from a Greek word pronounced as “KHARAKTER” meaning an instrument used to mark stone or metal (Schein, 2010). Realistically, no one carries around with him or her sheet of metal or a stone marked with their character. The continuing thing is the amassed of behaviors and features that create the apparent personal nature of an individual. One’s character does not only exist in and of itself but it’s a portrait of oneself to others. The reality that character stays within a person and in the minds of other individuals maintains a powerful lesson in leadership.
When speaking of leadership development, the subject is usually on a person’s skills – intelligence, communication skills, boldness, business acumen, and even vision. However, nothing among those will develop a leader if there is no basic leadership quality of commendable character. The character is a key to quality leadership since perfect character creates trust which makes people follow the leader. If there are no followers of a person then one can definitely not be called a leader. Nevertheless, in the present age of individuality, it is so rare to speak of what characterizes character. Fred Kiel, in his book “Return on Character,” he stated that a leader of character is the person who has high scores in integrity, forgiveness, compassion, and responsibility. The statement is even clearer when the leader comes across his definition of a leader with dubious character. He is described as a person who tells the truth almost fifty percent of the time (Sosik and Cameron, 2010. Such person cannot be trusted to fulfill the promises they make, keeps blaming other people, punishes people with good intentions for slight mistakes, and who does not effectively care for others.
By asking what renders an individual trustworthy can also help define a perfect character. It has already been mentioned in this article that good character makes one be trusted. The following traits are what make a leader trustworthy;
- Reliable behavior as over time they have demonstrated that continuing habit and reaction to similar conditions.
- They focus on common good instead just pursuing their personal desires.
- Always tell the truth and have a high degree of honesty.
- Their confidence leads them to do the right thing even during difficult situations.
- They always fulfill whatever they have promised meaning they deliver.
- Their decisions are properly considered through openness to counsel and the notion of other persons.
In case a person scores himself on the stated standards of behavior or rather a good character they possible did not attain a perfect score. Nevertheless, there is no need to despair as good character is more of nurture than nature. A leadership development expert, John Maxwell, named for essential building blocks he perceives to create a strong character.
Moral courage and self-discipline - This means acting in the right manner even if the urge to do so is lacking. It means practicing self-control to balance oneself desires with others needs and the confidence to go through the dangers, fears, and risks of holding on for the right thing.
Integrity – the action of aligning one's thoughts, feelings and actions with his or her values.
A sense of identity – Having the ability to truly know oneself and their beliefs. According to Rudyard Kipling, a poet, in his poem “If” he stated that “if you manage to trust yourself when everyone has doubts about you, But provide an allowance for their doubts as well.”
Core values – a concise sense of that values which control a person’s behavior each day.
Good character is a choice and not only for those who are noble hearted. It is the continuity of enduring choices over a period of time. People’s character is developed every moment they experience a defining time which challenges them to find through their principles and core values. If a person has the will to employ his or her self-control or discipline to try acting in the right manner every day during such moments, these choices will define their professional and personal identities over time. Therefore, the character is not only a conversation about a matter of realizing who one is and their values. The character of a person is the balance of his virtues, vices, and values expressed through his or her actions. This is also identified as the foundation of leadership.
A character is a fundamental leadership trait. It builds credibility and trust, enhances loyalty, and as proved by Fred Kiel’s research, it also results in an increased average return on assets. Therefore, talent intelligence and all the competencies that are skill based have no relevancy to leadership if there is no character (Quick and Wright, 2011). That is the reason totally talented and self-serving might at times get ahead at first but ultimately fail to reach at the top since they are deemed untrustworthy and no matter how good they might be, people will never follow them. Once, Norman Schwarzkopf, a US Army General stated that “leadership is a strong blend of character and strategy. But in case a person must drop one then drop the strategy.”
Ethical Values and Beliefs Dimensions of Character in the Range of Contexts
This segment discusses the connection between trust, values, and ethics ant the essential balance an individual should hold on in the areas to become a moral leader. Leaders should be able to address the present moral challenges. It can happen through their practice of ethics, focus, making sure their culture is value-based, being attentive, and rejecting compromising of trust. Ethics refers to an individual’s belief whether an action, decision or behavior is wrong or right. Leaders experience ethical dilemmas which as for high moral courage and a combination of ethics. It is believed that ethics begin and end with an organization’s leader. They must internalize a powerful set of principles and ethics of appropriate conduct or a moral values framework.
Choices made by leaders and the way they respond to certain situations are directed and informed by their ethics. Moral leadership differentiates right from wrong and it is aligned to the respect a person has for others. It is handling other people as ends in themselves and not as a means to an end. Other people’s values must be treated with decision and values must be treated with respect. One should approach others with unconditional worth sense and values personal differences. The key point is that moral leadership is about giving services to other people.
Ethically it is the responsibility of a leader to make choices which benefit the needs of their followers. Leaders who are moral are stewards of an organization values mission and vision. They integrate and nurture these principles with their ethical behavior. Moral leadership refers to the manifestation of honesty through speaking the truth with candor and openness balance, while checking what is right in a certain condition (Ogbonna and Harris, 2010). A moral leader cannot promise something that he will not deliver. They also do not suppress obligations, they cannot agree to the survival of the fittest pressures and they do not avoid accountability. Moral leaders are focused on fairness issues and they keep them as key items in their decision making. They very most critical factor in making decisions ethically is whether leaders demonstrate dedication to ethics in their conversation and particularly their behavior.
There are numerous value definitions, but the one considered as having more weight is that values are constructs which represent generalized states of affairs or behaviors that people perceive as being significant. They are the beliefs, ideas, and action modes which people consider desirable or worthwhile. The consistent beliefs possessing merit, worth and extreme significance in a person’s life have a fairly critical role in his or her psychological makeup. They might impact behavior in a different circumstance, they control all decisions, permeate an organization and hence they should not be sacrificed (Chang and Lee, 2017). Inferences can be made about individuals’ values on the basis of their behavior (how they speak and act). Values are acquired through the process of socialization and are internalized. To many, values refer to integral factors and persona emotional investments.
No leader was born ethical but they learn ethics through experiences. They should give a listening year to their conscience but at times it should not be trusted at all times since it can be misleading. They also must dialogue with others but select their others with carefulness. Every leader must be ready to get punishment for honesty and should allow for mistakes so as to avoid cover-ups. They have to learn how to keep up with shades of gray and essentially accept the blame for how they behave.
Relevant Theories to Ethical Character and Leadership
Some of the theories that are related to this topic include the great man theory and the trait theory. Thomas Carlyne the theorist claimed that a leader is a person gifted with outstanding which attract masses imagination. Since leader in the early day was mostly linked with men the theory got the name great man theory but later renamed great person theory (Lakomski, 2015). It argues that some individuals are born with the obvious attributes that distinguish them from others and that the traits are accountable are accountable for their powerful and authoritative positions assumptions. A leader will achieve objectives for his followers no matter what. It is assumed by the theory that leaders get into power due to their unique endowment. In addition, it claims that the traits maintain stability across various groups and over time. Hence, it contends that the characteristics are common to all great leaders in spite of where and when they lived or the responsibility they held and fulfilled in history.
On the other hand, trait theory argues that successful leaders have abilities, interests and individualistic traits which differ from those of leaders who are less effective. It provides a constructive awareness of leadership. People of any level in any organization can apply the theory. Managers can as well use the given information to assess their position and to evaluate how it can strengthen the organization. They can attain a deeper knowledge about their identity and how they will impact others. The theory helps a person to understand his or her weaknesses and then calculate the move to achieve leadership qualities.
Through analysis of the theory, leadership is a kind of an art as it needs special techniques and skills applications. Although there are some inborn leadership qualities, they require development and encouragement. No one is born with self-confidence but people develop it (Gardner, et. al., 2015). Integrity and honesty are choices made by a person, leading motivation comes from inside a person and awareness about business can be learned.
Correct emotion leadership relies on having high emotional intelligence levels. Intelligence level is the capacity to point at, evaluate, and take control of oneself, others and groups’ emotions. Quality leadership has the ability to balance between people and tasks. It means that a leader can concentrate on developing relations with teams to make engagement, participation, innovation, and creativity possible. They should work via strategic issues in line with the personal emotions members of a team possess on potential challenges.
Members of a team should not just understand the procedure for achieving their work. Leaders are supposed to link with the team at an emotional level, for them to get understanding of why their job is critical and the way to increase value. They must also prioritize a team’s interpersonal relationships in a team prior to addressing the job to be done (Brown, et. al., 2015). It involves developing a foundation of team-building, inspiration provision, self-awareness, understanding personal motivations, serving, concern for others, trust, and appreciating other’s capabilities.
Nelson Mandela, the first black South-African President, portrayed remarkable qualities of leadership throughout his life. He established his style of leadership with a vision and inspired other persons to follow his directions to attain goals (Jaskyte, 2014). Throughout his leadership, he showed strong ethical values when leading his people through constantly assisting them to maintain attention center before acting to evade violence. During the fight against apartheid, he kept morals and values in the battle. His morality and responsible traits toward his followers were embraced by his honesty.
After the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, bad leadership and business ethics in British Petroleum was foreseeable. This was due to the level of deceit and arrogance that action of the top management had inspired and also a poor style of leadership in disaster management. The company could have avoided more damages to the company’s image had it given respect to crisis management practices. The leader did not have leadership qualities and issues that arose from the disaster were handled by him ineffectively. Leadership is an essential organizational effectiveness determinant.
An organization that aims to grow and gets successful should adopt effective leadership that will formulate beneficial decisions. In the present day, it has been acknowledged that power only cannot secure compliance. It can only do so when it is aligned to resonance with mutual values. Therefore, there is the necessity for inspiration that is as significant as perspiration. British Petroleum should balance their vision with actual analysis and a commitment to actualize things (Bass and Steidlmeier 2009). In order to lead, a person has to have followers who possess common values. The leadership style of BP was not strong as proved by the CEO desiring his decision to be implemented without questioning or objection.
Role and Impact of Relevant Philosophical Paradigms
Traditionally, leadership was a traditional perceptive where;
- A leader maintains his position and makes effort to climb the ladder of power
- It is not possible to exceed the number of leader over one in a community
- The fundamental function of a leader is to provide control and guide his followers.
- A leader can decide on key issues without consulting other team members
This form of leadership is overly subjective and deems leaders a personal trait or rather an attainable position. Much of this is practices by small business owners who perceive themselves as the overall leaders anticipating their leaders to adhere to the orders with no chance for questioning (Bass and Avolio, 2013). Ethics and character of the leader are uncontrollable and in most cases, they do not observe these traits.
On the other hand, a new concept of leadership is known as leaderful where the role of the leader is to formulate a framework that each team member works in sharing with others. This does not only happen through power and knowledge fearing but to also assist one another reach the common goal. This approach is more effective and satisfying in comparison to the traditional approach. Many successful organizations have embraced this kind of leadership. It ethical culture insists on shared decision making, sharing of knowledge, and enhancing the happiness of everyone involved.
There have been different answers to the question of whether leaders are born or made. According to the analysis done by the author of this article, leadership in person must take gradual development. Since everyone was born, a leader was born and then made. Nevertheless, the response does not represent the questions essence. A quality leader is always in a consistent development mode (Avolio and Gardner, 2015). He will never have two similar days in his leadership. He commits himself to looking for new experiences and he is never in a constant mode of self-introspection. Thus he welcomes information from numerous sources, such as observations, informal training, books, personal experiences, internet and formal training as well.
Young leaders are faced with a number of challenges in their day to day operations. Some of them include;
Delegation – having trust in one’s ability is a good thing but it cannot be leadership if people rely too much on themselves. A leader is one who has trust in other people’s ability.
Impatience – several young leaders desire for an abrupt change while the organizations they lead might not be ready for it. When there accelerated efforts for success backfire they become frustrated hence lacking the ability to keep their team moving forward.
Leading older people – sometimes young leaders free so superior that they forget the much older team members have experiences and their opinions might be valid.
Lesser experience – this is not their fault but they definitely do not have that experience as they have only worked for a shorter period. Therefore they cannot refer to the experiences of the past.
Being aware that leader is not all about them – some of them put so much focus on themselves and their lives (Hodgkinson, 2011. They are only concerned with how they will get successful fast. What they do not know is that success will be triggered when they concentrate on other members of the team success and advancement.
Leadership refers to the art of motivating a team of persons with the intent to achieve a mutual objective. Definition of leadership captures the significance of having the ability to motivate other people and having the readiness to do so. A quality leadership is founded on ideologies but will not happen until the ideas are communicated and in a manner that makes them act the way a leader wants them to. To make it even simple, the leader is the director and inspiration to the actions. He or she is the individual in a team that has the combination of leadership and personality skills which make other people desire to behave and move in his or her direction.
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