How does your character relate to your effectiveness with others? What can you do to enhance your effectiveness with others?
“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
This picture depicts the hands of a Father, Mother, and Child representing the primary and most lasting influence in the development of your character – your Family.
Character is the foundation of effectiveness. If you want to enhance your effectiveness, it begins with your character. Character is the aggregate of features and traits that form your nature. Effective people have strong character and are keenly aware of how their character affects everything they do.
True character is right behavior; what you say and do when no one’s around.
Character is also a sign of maturity and is reflected in how you treat others, especially your subordinates and complete strangers. Do you treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness? Or do you play favorites and only treat those in positions of power and authority with dignity, respect, and kindness?
If you want to assess someone’s character,
take them to lunch and see how they treat the help.
Even though you’re responsible for your thoughts, words and deeds, there may be many hereditary, environmental, and training factors that have affected your character development. You’re still responsible for your response to these factors and the development of good habits.
Character can be developed by any combination of motivations, or by default. Character is how you treat others, especially when under stress. Being a person of character is a conscious choice you make every day. Learn from your mistakes. Be self-correcting!
If you want to enhance your ability to influence others, it begins with character. Character is the aggregate of features and traits that form your nature. Effective people have strong character and are keenly aware of how their character affects everything they do. Choose any great person from history and you’ll find this is true.
What do some religions say about what’s RIGHT and WRONG?
The ultimate template for right behavior is The Golden Rule.
Here’s what some religions consider to be The Golden Rule:
Christianity: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”
Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
Hinduism: “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”
All religions teach their followers the same thing; to treat others as you wish to be treated – with dignity, respect and kindness.
Since character is so critical to your effectiveness, this is why we created this site.
What were the qualities you remember most about the best person with whom you ever worked?
Would they include any of these qualities?
All the above qualities are character traits. Do you demonstrate these qualities? What would those around you say? Effective people agree that if you want to enhance your effectiveness, it begins with character. Character is the aggregate of features and traits that form your nature. Effective people have strong character and are keenly aware of how their character affects everything they do.
True character is right behavior; what you say
and do when no one’s watching.
A character trait is a habit, a usual pattern or way of thinking, speaking, or acting. Like any habit, a character quality can be developed, and an undesirable character quality can be eliminated, by repeatedly making decisions and taking actions that reinforce character.
Children imprint on their parents (or whomever is their caregiver growing up), which means that they record and mimic their behaviors and attitudes, both the good as well as the bad.
- What you say: Word choice, expressions, jokes, bad language, following-up, praise, recognition, relationships, feedback, asking, persuading, courtesy, and treating others with dignity, respect, and kindness
- How you say it: Voice tonality, pause, inflection, tone, intensity, volume, pronunciation, emotion, enthusiasm, body language, and pacing
- What you do: Habits, do’s and don’ts, right vs. wrong, service, work ethic, abilities, effort, education, training, and personal mannerisms (manners, handshake, movement, posture, eye contact, dress, hygiene, grooming, gestures, energy, and enthusiasm)
Optimism, customs, traditions, goals, fears, initiative, hope, values, confidence, knowledge, purpose, passion, opinions, emotions, ideas, tolerations, mood, memory, expectations, faith, beliefs, concerns, likes, dislikes, choices, standards, ethics, religion, focus, desires, aspirations, commitment, priority, perceptions, judgments, prejudices, and stereotypes.
This is also why so many young people end up incarcerated. They grew up with one or no parents to teach them right from wrong behavior; character.
Is Character a Sign of Maturity?
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
– Steven R. Covey
Yes! Character is a sign of maturity and is reflected in how you treat others, especially your subordinates and complete strangers. Do you treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness? Or, do you play favorites and only treat those in positions of power and authority with dignity, respect, and kindness? If you want to assess someone’s character, take them to lunch and see how they treat the server.
Do you really want someone on your team who never developed character as a child? You can train someone to perform technical skills, but teaching character is far more difficult. So how can you tell if someone is a person of character before you hire them?Fortunately, we have, “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten”, thanks to Robert Fulghum, as a guide.
“These are the (16) things I learned:
- Share everything
- Play fair
- Don’t hit people
- Put things back where you found them
- Clean up your own mess
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
- Wash your hands before you eat
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
- Take a nap every afternoon
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die – so do we
- And, then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK”
Everything you need to know about life is hidden in these 16 lessons learned somewhere. Character includes The Golden Rule, love, basic sanitation, ecology, politics, equality, and sane living. All these are signs of maturity.
Think what a better world it would be if we all had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock. If all nations had a law to always “put things back where they found them” and to “clean up your own mess”, what a better world we could create. That’s the power of character.
In fact, this is a great beginning of how to treat others with dignity, respect, and kindness. What character traits did you learn growing up?
Character Always Matters!
Character doesn’t happen automatically and is too important to be left to chance. Your effectiveness depends on it. And there is such a thing as right and wrong behavior.
We all have the duty to teach others, especially the young, that honesty is superior to lying, fairness to cheating, and stealing, and caring to indifference.
Here are some suggestions of how to enhance your character:
Speak the TRUTH
“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”
– Dennis Prager
How important is it to tell the truth? As a Cadet at West Point, I was subject to their Honor Code.
The Code states,
“A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”
Fortunately, my parents had prepared me well.
From a very early age, I was taught that my word was my bond
and that lying, cheating, and stealing were wrong.
The only thing I was not taught was the “or tolerate those who do” clause of the code. Later in life, I learned that we all bear the burden to address, correct, and report inappropriate behavior to the proper authority.
Check your Integrity
Note: It took me a little longer to learn the real difference between honesty and integrity.
Honesty is telling the truth, while integrity is keeping your word.
If you have doubt or have no intention of going to the party, say so. And, if you said you’d go, you better show up. Can people count on you to deliver; to do what you said you’d do? If so, you have integrity.
Team sports are great activities that teach character. Sports are, by their very nature, a metaphor for life.
Here are just a few of the things sports teach:
Not everyone makes the team, you won’t get a hit every at bat.
You won’t always put points on the board.
You won’t win every game, there’s always tomorrow.
Better luck next time!
No whining, no excuses, no blaming others.
Take personal accountability to get better every day.
As long as you did your best, you have no reason to be ashamed.
Errors will happen, shake it off, and do better next time.
Play by the rules and play fair.
The more you practice and play – the better you get.
Show respect to your opponent.
The team is more important than any one player.
Winning isn’t everything. It’s how you play the game.
Being better today than you were yesterday is all the counts!
Shoot for improvement, not perfection
Your team is depending on you. Don’t drop the ball.
Back up (help) your team mates.
We all win or lose together.
Hang in there-keep trying-it’s not over til it’s over!
A few character traits I learned from sports were patience, sacrifice, courage, determination, resilience, personal accountability, teamwork, communications, motivation, fairness, and how to treat others with dignity, respect and kindness – regardless of defeat or victory.
Do What’s Right
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
It’s one thing to do what’s right when it’s convenient. But, it’s quite another to do what’s right in the midst of pressures to compromise or to give up. It’s the struggle that deepens and solidifies your character. If you learn to make right choices, especially when the choice is hard or could get you in trouble, you’re strengthening your character. If you treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness, you’ll have few problems.
It’s only in your moments of poor judgment, treating others
with disrespect, that you’ll regret your actions.
Be Grateful for the Struggle
“Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in
the hands of God. So let us celebrate the struggle.”
– Swahili Warrior Song
Many people think that character can only be developed through adversity. Adversity means misfortune, hardship, mayhem, tragedy, disaster, crisis, or suffering. Adversity includes things like near death experiences, mental or physical disability, and suffering. But, if you grow up without adversity in your life, does that mean you don’t have character? Of course, not! That’s ridiculous!
Adversity doesn’t include things like hard work, doing things you don’t like to do, long hours, responsibilities, stepping outside your Comfort Zone, raising children, solving difficult problems, doing what you are told, experiencing disappointment, setbacks, last minute cancellations, conflicts, mistakes, challenges, and overcoming obstacles.
However, struggle, which is part of life for everyone, includes them all.
It’s your struggles in life that build your character.
This is why I’ve chosen the word struggle instead of adversity; it’s more descriptive and inclusive. Since there is opposition in all things, struggle is what you must go through as a result of opposition. Struggle is making a strenuous effort in the face of difficulties or opposition. Most struggle is mental (the struggle within); to tell the truth, to resist peer pressure, to do the right thing, to stand up for yourself and others – even if you’re the only one standing.
Real character is developed as a result of your struggles. During your lifetime, you’ll encounter many adverse emotional situations. Because of the frailty of human nature, you can’t avoid struggle. Your ability to inspire and influence others will be observed and tested every day. You’ll either be found worthy or lacking in their perception of you as their leader.
Since people are watching you and talking amongst themselves,
how you respond and treat them must be consistently good
if you expect to remain effective.
In life, you’re not going to win all your battles. Some you’ll lose. But, sometimes you get to pick your battles, or at least you’ll have some say in the conditions under which the battle will be fought. You’re not always going to get a star or a sticker or get to play on the team. The struggle makes you stronger. It helps shape your character. Let it drive you to Greatness!
Sometimes, struggle doesn’t build character, it reveals it.
The struggle of being fired from Apple made Steve Jobs stronger. Microsoft and Apple became stronger and better through their competitive struggle to be the best.
Greatness is not always in what you achieve;
sometimes it’s in what you overcome.
Any good athlete will tell you that if you want to improve your game, play against someone better than you. Many of the world’s greatest technological advancements were achieved as a result of wars between nations (the struggle to survive and win). Accept the fact that there will be struggle (opposition) in all things. It’s the struggle that makes all the difference.
The character traits gained from all your struggles are actually gifts –
blessings in disguise. If you use your gifts in the service of others,
you’ll be blessed.
How you respond, rather than react, to your struggles will have a profound effect on your effectiveness.
To be continued: If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your character, you can do so by adding this book to your professional library, today!
YOUR GUIDE TO BETTER CHARACTER
Here you’ll learn:
Chapter 2: Building Character
Chapter 3: The 9 People I Admire Most
Chapter 4: Avoiding Damage to Your Character
Chapter 5: How Leaders Serve
Chapter 6: Dignity, Respect, and Kindness
Chapter 7: Supporting Their Goals
Chapter 8: Engaging in Consensus Building
Chapter 9: Protecting Their Health and Welfare
Chapter 10: Building Your Leadership Philosophy
You now have the chance to enhance your career by learning how to become more effective tomorrow than you are today.
Or, you can take advantage of our Special Offer below.
To SAVE 75%, purchase The Effectiveness Guide, which contains all 10 Volumes, instead of buying each volume separately.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
CHAPTER 1: BY BECOMING A BETTER FOLLOWER
CHAPTER 2: BY BECOMING A BETTER DELEGATOR
CHAPTER 3: BY BECOMING A BETTER PLANNER
CHAPTER 4: BY BECOMING A BETTER ORGANIZER
CHAPTER 5: BY BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR
CHAPTER 6: BY BECOMING A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER
CHAPTER 7: BY ENHANCING YOUR AWARENESS
CHAPTER 8: BY BECOMING A BETTER TRAINER
CHAPTER 9: BY ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO MOTIVATE
CHAPTER 10: BY ENHANCING YOUR CHARACTER
APPENDIX A: PLAN OF ACTION EXAMPLE
APPENDIX B: REAL WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING EXAMPLE
APPENDIX C: ADVANCE PROBLEM SOLVING WITH VUCA
APPENDIX D: CAREER ADVICE
APPENDIX E: CREATING MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS
The Effectiveness Guide is the best investment you’ll ever make in your career.
Also, if you feel this information could help someone else, please take a few moments to let them know. If it turns out to make a difference in their life, they’ll be forever grateful to you – as will I.
Let’s make a difference together – one person at a time!
All the best!
Founder of TheCAREERMaker.com
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