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Character: The Bedrock of Leadership

King David by Nicolas Cordier
There has been much talk about leadership recently; especially during this election year where both parties are trying to convince voters that they are better equipped to lead this country for the next 4 years.

I have also thought much about leadership recently, though not on such a grand scale as the presidency.  For me leadership is much more simpler; leading everyday in the circumstances which God places in my way.

Thinking of these thoughts I came to the conclusion that the most important fundamental trait of an effective, leader is character.

So what is character?  Character is simply the way a person acts everyday within the circumstances of their lives. 

Let me explain...

Lets say for example as a business owner you fudge a couple of numbers to pay less taxes; chances are that you won't get caught.  Do you still decide to cheat or do you tell the truth?

Or as a parent you have a child who begins to throw a tantrum because you have taken something away from them.  Do you give in? or do you stay strong?

Or how about at work you are told by your boss to clean every single corner of the office.  Do you listen to your boss or do you just cut some corners because you realize that your boss won't see it?

True character is shaped by one's decisions when you are not being looked at.

Most people have this mistaken notion that once a person becomes a leader that all of his/her weaknesses will be magically swept away.  This is not true at all, actually what ends up happening is that the character defects begin to well up to the surface.  In the long run this person ends up sabotaging their success because their character weaknesses prevent them from leading effectively.  Steven Berglas author of the book The Success Syndrome lists the 4 A's that these types of leaders often fall into: Arrogance, aloneness, adultery,  and adventure seeking.

Ultimately character is a daily decision. Living a character centered life requires making the right decision hundreds of times a day, everyday. If a person lacks character in the daily matters of life that person has no right to even think of being a leader.

 I will end this post with these words from Jesus which speak to the essence of true character:

"He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much."  Luke 16:10


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