“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
― Abraham Lincoln
As I continue to ponder how we select the best individuals to lead our future, I keep coming back to character. If we can select individuals with the strongest character, we will achieve success.
How people deal with the crises, circumstances, and tragedies of life tells us a great deal about leadership potential. We deal with a myriad of character testing events every week here–and it strikes me the differences in responses. Some will immediately accept responsibility for whatever befalls them, some will admit to things that will immediately disqualify them from programs they have worked their whole life to be in–and would rather do that then have their integrity compromised. Others immediately deflect blame on anyone and everyone–launch investigations, send letters, complain when quite clearly they were at fault…but refuse responsibility for their actions.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
― John Wooden
Crisis does not make character, but it does reveal it. So when a leader faces adversity–he/she stands at a very literal crossroads: the two roads are simply–character or compromise.
When a leader chooses character–it builds strength. As in weight training… this strength does not always come pain-free…many times the choice of character will bring negative consequences in the short term–but the development of character is at the very heart of our development as human beings….and honestly it will go on forever. Many times a short term loss equates to a long term BIG gain.
John Maxwell notes:
– Character is more than talk
– Talent is a gift, but character is a choice
– Character brings lasting success with people
An individual, a leader–simply can not rise above the limitations of their character… so we all have to work on growing it—everyday. And sometimes….it is painful.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
― Helen Keller