Character-centered leadership in business is absolutely essential for those who want business success. It is a priority of vital importance!
Let me be clear before we go on. I am not referring to the business coaching model known as Values-centered Leadership. Nor am I in any way endorsing that program.
Values-centered Leadership and the character-centered leadership we will discuss here are two different subjects.
Character in Business
Character in business guides your organization. Basic character, wherever it is found in business, seasons that business. It gives an ethical savor that is apparent to employees, customers, clients, vendors, and anyone else who interacts with it.
Character in business sets behavioral standards, determining how everyone is going to act. Character in business impinges on every department and every person, from employer to the least of the employees.
What Is Character-Centered Leadership in Business?
Character-centered leadership in business is proactive, moral guidance of the workplace.
It focuses on acting in advance to deal with moral problems that might be expected to affect workers in the workplace. Character-centered leadership anticipates such difficulties and heads them off by consistently modeling strong character. It works consciously to direct the business with the reins of moral absolutes.
Leaders who are character-centered bring all 66 character traits into the workplace and apply them. They act on the principle that high moral values are critical for creating and upholding a strong ethical workplace. They recognize that an unethical workplace is doomed to failure.
Character-centered leadership, vital to large corporations, is equally essential for small “Mom-and-Pop” businesses. Such leadership can revolutionize houses of government and corporate giants, but it can revolutionize your small business also.
The Impact of Character-Centered Leadership
When character-centered leaders inject moral absolutes of right and wrong into the workplace, they impact the way people think about things. They influence the attitudes of people in the business. Those attitudes, in turn, influence behavior – what the people do.
Let’s look at some of the ways character-centered leadership will impact your organization. What can you expect when you begin to build and model strong character?
- Character Becomes Contagious. As people accept the leader’s moral actions, it becomes the “in thing” for everyone to make positive behavioral changes. Each one that changes infects another with the desire to change. Growing behavioral change gradually makes it difficult for anyone to resist.
- Employees Follow the Leader. The moral actions of any leader have a direct effect on that leader’s people. When a restaurant manager does his job to the utmost of his ability, his actions encourage the wait staff to serve customers to the best of their ability. Almost unconsciously, people tend to follow leadership.
- Trust and Confidence Grow. Employees and customers begin to have confidence in your business. They begin to consider it trustworthy – a business that won’t let them down. J.C. Penney said this about his empire of stores:
When this business was founded, it sought to win public confidence through service, for it was my conviction then, as it is now, that nothing else than right service to the public results in mutual understanding and satisfaction between customer and merchant. It was for this reason that our business was founded upon the eternal principle of the Golden Rule.
- Your Business Gains a Competitive Edge. The public wants businesses and leaders to exercise character. People often choose or reject businesses based on values and actions. When buying a used car, they want to know they are dealing with principled salespeople, not the stereotypical shyster. Your business gains a competitive edge over others when your leadership builds and models character.
In a successive article, we will look at how you can develop character-centered leadership. For now, however, let me leave you with this:
A character-centered leader who approaches his or her business with determination to serve employees and the public as well as possible never needs to fear the competition.