Part 2 of 4
In the previous blog post, we shared that in order to water others, we must be filled up with water in our inner man. Without a strong character, it will be difficult for us to impact lives—for we cannot give persons that which we do not have.
The first step to becoming a leader who waters others started with making a commitment to be known as someone who is faithful and dependable. In other words, keep your word. The second step is to choose character over compromise.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines character as the complex mental and ethical traits that often distinguish an individual from another. Over time, our character is shaped by our own choices. As John Lubbock, English banker and astronomer once quoted, “Your character will be what you yourself choose to make it.”
Along our journey as leaders, our character will be tested. We can either choose to stay true to our character or to compromise. The Cambridge English dictionary defines the act of compromising as lowering or weakening our standards. If we want to lift others higher, we have to take them to where we are. And as those we influence observe our choices, our actions will compel them to choose character as well, before we even speak a word.
Here are 3 ways that you can prepare yourself to choose character over compromise:
1. Know Your Values
Everyone has values, even though everyone might not be aware of what these values are. One of the quickest ways we can determine our values is to reflect on the decision we take in a high pressure situation. A boiling pot will only spill out the contents inside. But you do not have to wait until situations become dire to know who you are. Be proactive. You can complete online personal or core values tests or browse the internet for values lists and by process of elimination, determine your core values. Finally, you can ask trusted friends and family members for their opinion on what your core values might be.
2. Reflect on what you would do in ethical dilemmas
When we read about scandals, fraud, misappropriation and indecent behavior in the media, it can be easy for us to criticize others for flaws and missteps in character. But have we ever wondered what we would do in those situations? The next time you read such a story, ask yourself: “What would I have done if I were in the same situation?” For a step further, you can browse the internet for ethical dilemma examples and reflect on what you would do in those situations. Since we know that the test will come, we are more likely to succeed if we are prepared.
3. Celebrate each time you choose character over compromise
The bigger picture is that every time you choose to stand for your values rather than give in to temptation in whatever form it comes in, you are filling up your internal tank, to pour into others. You are developing the moral authority and integrity to lead others. Also, your conscience will not accuse you of being an imposter when you stand before others. We accept that we will have moments when we fail and choose to compromise instead. But when we take the high road, it is worth celebrating.
As leaders, we are being watched and observed more than we can imagine. For the sake of those within our sphere of influence, let us do what it takes to build our character and water others
The Leadership Series
Part 1 of 4: Leadership: First Things First
Part 3 of 4: Leadership: See the Value in Yourself
Part 4 of 4: Grow in Self-Discipline