Thursday, March 12, 2015

Character and Competence - Which do you have? Day 11: 100 Days of Leadership

Is competence the most important thing about leadership, or is it character? Or maybe, good leaders have both. My belief is that character trumps competence. You may be a great leader, but transformative leadership will crumble without a character that complements your competence (When I say character I think of traits such as honesty, integrity, consistency and humility).

I have heard too many stories of leaders who have fallen from grace because they slept with someone who was not their spouse, or embezzled money or showed nepotism. Competence without character is not sustainable.

President Bill Clinton’s career almost came crashing down after the sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky hit the tabloids. I mean, who would have thought, a competent, strong leader like Bill Clinton could fall into such moral decay? World class golfer Tiger Woods got caught up in the sex scandals too, and it all but ruined his career. See, you can be the best golfer in the world, but if you can’t keep your character in check, the way you drive a one-wood is going to be irrelevant.  

I did hint at the following thought: A great leader has both admirable character and competence. Maybe when it comes to great leadership, is not so much ‘character vs competence’ but rather, having both a depth of character and competence. I still come back to the premise though, that if you had to choose between the two, I would choose character!

What does the Bible say?

Acts 6:3-4 - Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.

What will I do now?
Are there character flaws within you that you need to work on? Are you bold enough to name them, and consider how you might improve? Also, what areas of your field of work, do you need to ‘lift your game’? Are there any particular courses, or training or reading you can do to improve your competency in this field?

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