Identifying the core of your character

Adapted from The Leader’s Example

As a leader, who are you supposed to be? The world will offer some guidance, shaping and fashioning you into its own image of leadership. You must wear a suit. Smile and look the part. Be charismatic, creative, assertive—a self-starter and the life of the party. 

Yet, what should you do when you learn of corrupt dealings within your organization? What should you do when you learn that your church elders have looked the other way regarding your pastor’s sins? The world offers little guidance on these scenarios, giving vague answers wrapped in sophisticated phrasing. The phrases “demonstrate ethical decision-making” and “uphold the character of the organization” sound grand and important, but, they communicate little about character itself. 

So I ask again—as a leader, who are you supposed to be? The answer to this question is intrinsically linked to your understanding of character—the character that you display and the character that you lead others to develop.

What Character Is

The word character comes from a Greek word meaning engraving instrument. A character is an impressed image that corresponds with the original pattern. God’s character is like the original pattern and we, as Christian leaders, must be like that impressed image. We must allow the Holy Spirit to impress upon us the traits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Our character should be the tool that God uses to engrave Himself upon us.

What Character Is Not

People can have charisma (dynamic personalities and giftings), but no character. Personality and gifts can take you places, but you need character to keep you there. Character is not contained within suits and smiles, nor in creativity and assertiveness. Character does not deal with superficial qualities, but rather, it delves deeper, dealing with the internal strengths and weaknesses of the individual. 

You do not perform your character; your character guides your performance. 

Want to learn more about your identity as a leader? Call Leadership Training International’s office at 757-673-6581.


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