Leadership and the Value of Character Over Reputation and Branding
At the core of everything you do is your character. It’s the core of your reputation and it’s the basis of your branding.
Before you lead anything, work anywhere, help anyone, your character defines how you will perform. It also defines how those collaborating closely with you will view you.
Why Character is More Valuable to a Leader than Reputation
To start, realize that having good character doesn’t make you a good leader. But, without good character, you cannot be a skilled leader.
This places your character at the center of everything you do and seek to achieve in leadership. Your character is within you. You live and own your character.
Conversely, your reputation is external. It’s created by fact and fiction for you. Those competing with you may try to tarnish your character by labeling you with a false reputation.
You control some of this by always doing your best to live up to having a confident, ethical, and moral character. Those you lead and work closely with will recognize this. By default, they become the opposition to anyone trying to tarnish your reputation.
Why Character is More Important than Branding
Like a reputation, branding is external to you as a leader. While it’s incredibly useful in marketing, it does nothing to help you lead.
You build your character long before you build your brand. Your brand includes your character.
In fact, your character is typically what makes your brand interesting to others. If your brand characterizes you as someone you’re not, you’ll be discovered. The discovery will typically kill your brand.
Do Good Leaders Have Character Flaws?
Being a leader doesn’t make you a perfect person. Leaders humanity is no less or no more than others. Therefore, leaders will suffer through character flaws from time to time like others.
What keeps you a leader is how you recover from the downfall, regardless of how minor or egregious the break. Quality leaders don’t try to hide flaws, nor do they flaunt them.
Your character failures as a leader will be more obvious to others than those of the team you lead. This necessitates you taking positive and clear action to repair the break in character. Doing so repairs you image and keeps your team’s character strong as well.
A break in what makes your character strong can be devastating, and some will use it to affect your reputation and even your brand. The level of the affect will determine the steps to take to fix it.
Keep Your Character to Lead from Your Heart
The bottom line is you own your character. If you break it, you fix it. Your reputation and brand can be managed by others.
When you’re true to a morale, ethical, and confident character, you’ll be able to lead in any crisis.
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International speaker, author, and entrepreneur. Retired navy officer, former commanding officer. Over 35 years of leading, coaching, mentoring, and speaking.