Leadership and Character: Four Steps to Success

There is a quote from the late actor Paul Newman that every new leader should read. It simply states: “if you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.”

That guy knew what he was talking about.

Too often, new leaders blanch at making the tough decisions for fear of not being liked. They call for a “task force” to evaluate a new idea, making sure everyone has a say in the decision; they quietly hope that the nice but under performing employee will “just quit” so that they don’t have to have that uncomfortable termination conversation; and they let too many off target initiatives die a slow and costly death rather than be the one who shot them down at the get go.

Leaders with character step out in front. They make the tough call knowing full well that someone isn’t going to like it. That’s part of leadership.

We’re not talking about being ruthless. We’re not talking about being an autocrat. We’re talking about standing for something. Having confidence in yourself and in your ideas and in knowing how to translate that into the success of the organization and the success of your employees.

The four keys to achieving this level of leadership:

Get really clear on who you are. Have integrity and be consistent. None of that fence straddling stuff when people are counting on you to make a decision. Listen to people’s ideas, give them voice, but if you know in your gut they are off target, have the confidence to say no. Also, have the confidence to say yes if they are right.

Get over the idea that you are responsible for people’s happiness. You aren’t. You are responsible for their welfare and if you see them heading out to sea in a row boat, it’s your job to get them back to shore before the storm hits. Maybe you did ruin their trip today and they were none too happy about it, but the next time they’ll know to head out in a more sea worthy vessel.
Get real. Yes, there is something to be said about employing the social graces even in business but if you find yourself smiling and glad handing people just so you don’t make waves, think about how you will be perceived in the long haul. You don’t want people wondering whether you really agree with everyone else’s opinions or whether you have no ideas of your own.

Get comfortable standing alone. There’s a reason people jump on politicians for flip flopping. When popular opinion is deafeningly in opposition to your ideas, do you have the strength to stand alone for something that you know is right? Leaders lead and often times it takes time for the rest of the pack to catch up to you.

Embrace your character.


  1. 819371 43168Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a appear. Im definitely loving the info. Im bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding weblog and amazing style and design. 886392

  2. hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here.

    I did however expertise a few technical issues using this
    web site, since I experienced to reload the website
    many times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if
    your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times
    will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score
    if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective fascinating content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  3. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet
    I never found any interesting article like yours. It
    is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as
    you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  4. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting
    things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it!

  5. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to
    mention that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  6. 37428 194968Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a great deal about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with several pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this really is great weblog. An excellent read. Ill certainly be back. 549032

  7. 423094 710232Oh my goodness! a wonderful post dude. Thank you Even so I will probably be experiencing concern with ur rss . Dont know why Can not subscribe to it. Will there be any person finding identical rss problem? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx 189254

  8. I was excited to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your web site.

  9. These days of austerity as well as relative anxiousness about getting debt, lots of people balk resistant to the idea of utilizing a credit card to make acquisition of merchandise or perhaps pay for any gift giving occasion, preferring, instead just to rely on this tried and trusted method of making settlement – cash. However, if you’ve got the cash there to make the purchase in whole, then, paradoxically, that’s the best time to be able to use the credit cards for several reasons.

  10. 773239 434618Wow really glad i came across your internet internet site, i??ll be certain to pay a visit to back now i??ve bookmarked it??. 842784


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here