It’s November. This is the month of Thanksgiving. It also seems to be the time of the year when we emphasize certain values, like gratitude, service, and family. And the closer we get to the celebration of Thanksgiving (followed by the season of Christmas), the more we think about those kinds of virtues. That’s part of the reason why my posts this month focus on character and its expression – topics like, how to make things right when you mess up, why integrity matters to leadership, and even a review of book on the importance of character in leadership (“Redefining Leadership.” By Joe Stowell).
In my personal opinion, character in leadership always matters, even though, too often, it seems to be missing. So I want to be sure that I am taking this opportunity to emphasize its importance, and remind us all that the most effective leadership will be authentic, will have integrity, will reflect honesty, will be trustworthy, and will do what is right. I know that sometimes it’s really hard to do what’s right – perhaps because it’s going to hurt to tell the truth, perhaps because there will be something that is sacrificed or lost by being honest rather than deceitful, perhaps because it seems like the “bad guy” will win – and so you struggle with choosing to do the right thing. The truth is, it may be very hard, and you may not always see an immediate gain, but you will always be better by doing what is right.
So, as we enter this holiday season, let me encourage you to be intentional and thoughtful about what you do and how you do it. Treat people right regardless of how challenging they may be. Prove yourself to be worthy of trust, in both your words and your actions. Invest in relationships and in others. Be conscious of your choices, regardless of whether or not anyone is looking at you (and someone probably is, whether you realize it or not). As my dad used to say to me when I was young (and I, in turn, said it to my children), “It’s right to do right, because it’s right.” So do what’s right. Lead with integrity. Be genuine. Be humble. Let your leadership reflect your character; and not just during this particular holiday season, but always.