As leaders, we shoulder unique burdens and responsibilities. Our days are chock-full of meetings, tasks, and to-dos. We’re held accountable for our teams and their actions. We’re in charge of envisioning the future, and communicating that vision to those around us. Sometimes, we become so wrapped up in our calendar—the functional, task-oriented side of our role—that we neglect an even more important facet of leadership.
You see, your calendar is essential. However, even more critical to your leadership and your organization is your character. Without character, you won’t continue to have customers and clients. Without character, your team won’t respect, trust, or follow you anywhere. Without character, you won’t cross off to-dos, envision a better future, or make wise moves forward. Character is the foundation off of which everything else is built.
So what is character? Character is simply the decisions you make when no one is watching you. It’s who you are at the core: your values, beliefs, and principles. Character is how you are on the platform and in the parking lot. Character is how you respect people—people from every walk of life and stature. Character is how you keep your word. Character is a daily living. Character is what people will say about you.
So here’s the thing: none of us have had a course in character. None of us have gone to university for character. But every one of you is an expert in telling who has good character. As soon as you spend a little time around a person, you can tell if they have good character. You may not be able to define it, but you can tell.
If you take care of your character, it will take care of your calendar. If you’ll take care of your personal life, it will take care of your public life. Focus on your character first, and everything else will follow.