Leader character in action

Time to play the long game
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/12/2016

Consider a few of the business scandals that have plagued our time: Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, the financial crisis of 2008 — and consider the resulting horrific loss of shareholder value. How did these missteps happen? The communities served by these organizations (customers, consumers and citizens) judged these as scandals as much on lack of “good” character as lack of competence.

Yet, good character continues to elude us as a capability by which we judge leaders. Gerard Seijts is on a mission to change that. He and his colleagues’ research into character and leadership resulted in an evidence-based conclusion that good character is as important a part of effectiveness as competency and commitment (the traditional “skill and will”). Seijts calls upon us to “make sure we elevate the importance of leader character to the same level.”

What do we do with this insight? How do we, as citizens, consumers and human capital professionals, create a new gold standard of performance where hitting the financial goals and demonstrating good character become the measure of an effective leader? The means to do so must come from society, from our organizations and from us.