Your Career

On Character

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president (1809-1865).

     One of your key challenges as a manager is for your decisions to be carried out and the action steps you outline to be put into place. Better yet, your challenge is to have those who have the responsibility of carrying out your decisions believe that those decisions are both in their best interest and that of the enterprise. For that to happen, those whom you lead must believe in you.

     Simple as that might seem, leadership is earned. It doesn’t come lightly, nor without questions. For it to be earned, two things have to happen. First, those who work for you need to understand why you have made the decision you have. And second, they must believe in you and respect your judgment.

     The lesson for managers is this: If those who work with you believe in you and know you respect them and their views, they will, in turn, respect your judgment and work their hardest. Most times, they will follow more eagerly and tackle the assignment with much greater resolve and commitment to do the best job possible.

     The task at hand is to demonstrate character and build respect by respecting others:
  1. Effective managers develop trust in a very personal way by building a culture which shows respect for the views of others in the organization and all those constituents whose actions will determine the organization’s ultimate success or failure.
  2. Managers do that by communicating in a reasoned and thoughtful manner and by engaging in constructive and open dialog … providing information and the thinking behind their decisions, not just barking orders or expecting others to follow blindly.
  3. Successful managers take it one step farther by communicating in ways which are very personal, touching an emotional chord and building a foundation which goes well beyond just the facts and data.
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