I often write and speak about the necessity of leadership being built upon the combination of character and competency. Character is clearly the foundation of leadership. My definition of leadership is influence. People only accept the influence of those that they trust and respect. Trust and respect is earned through character.
In a recent article titled, “Leadership – Unsafe at Any Speed?”, John Childress uses the example of Ralph Nader’s book and his campaign to promote increased safety considerations in the automotive industry to present his thoughts on the importance of character and courage in leadership. Childress makes the point that the automotive industry at the time of the Corvair lacked character in its leadership, and therefore did not take the initiative in adequately designing for safety.
Childress states his belief that character and courage are foundational for leadership and more important than IQ or business degrees. He writes about the need to hire and develop people for character rather than just business or technical skills. Beyond the importance of importance of character for developing the necessary relationships for leadership, Childress writes of the broader impact of character. He states, “Besides the fact that “it’s the right thing to do”, many of the problems that result from internal politics, toxic corporate cultures, waste, pollution and unsustainable business practices could be more easily solved by those in positions of leadership who had real backbones made of character and courage.”
See the full article by John Childress on Dan McCarthy’s blog.