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The Corporate Digest

Dear David,
Here is the second article on Character, as well as an interesting piece on what good bosses believe.
The Essence of Character


In our October 2010 edition we discussed aspects which produce the essence of character, depicted by the first four letters of the word character.  Here are the last five.


A=Authenticity  Always act authentically.  Leaders emphasis the importance of authentic leadership; doing your job without compromising your values, beliefs or personality. Do you know who you are, what your values are and what your dominant personality is? Be prepared to invest in personal growth so that you can develop the awareness you need to live a life of authenticity.


C=Consistency  Some of the best leaders have an amazing ability to be consistent. They are the same at work, at home and at the gym. Consistent behavior is paramount in establishing a good character. If you constantly change your mind, change how you feel about your work, change your idea of what you want to do with your life, change your behavior towards your fellow workers and change the way you do your work, people will struggle to work with you.  Leaders who apply the same rules and same treatment to everybody that they are responsible for are seen as leaders who are fair and have a good character.


T=Talk  Remember that, in certain circumstances, keeping information to yourself has potentially negative consequences.  There is a fine line between what should be shared and what should be kept to yourself.  Share the correct information broadly and with integrity.  You don't want to be perceived as hoarding information for your personal gain.  Sometimes not saying anything can lead to more harm than actually speaking.  A big part of communication is listening.  Learn to listen.  Most of us take listening for granted, so we don't work very hard at it.  However, effective listening doesn't just happen.  It takes a great deal of purpose.  It's hard work and requires your complete attention.  People feel valued when you listen to them.


E=Emotions  The rise of bright young managers with unusually high levels of talent, intellect and ambition has been documented.  They are given regular opportunities to advance and move into positions with very senior levels of responsibility on an accelerated career path.  Unfortunately, these young managers often arrive with gaps in critical developmental experiences needed to hone them into authentic, mature and emotionally competent leaders.  Emotional cluelessness is often a great risk for young and rapidly rising leaders simply because they have rushed through powerful life experiences that represent pivotal learning junctures in the adult development process.  This is why coaching and mentoring is often a priority.


R=Relationships  Invest time and energy into your existing relationships.  Repair damaged relationships and the image others may have of you. Also, identify the people with whom you need to establish or develop a relationship.  Your ability to use the power of relationships will be compromised if you are not connecting with the right people. Sometimes your character depends on the depth of your relationships.


Your reputation will be determined by your character and the aspects we have discussed will keep your character in good stead.

What Good Bosses Believe

Bob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, believes that all of the technique and behavior coaching in the world won't make a boss great if that person does not have a certain mindset.

He identifies some key beliefs that are held by the best bosses, and often rejected by the worst bosses.

Here are twelve of those beliefs:

  • I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
  • My success, and that of my people, depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure or breakthrough ideas or methods.
  • Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but it is useless to think about them too much.  My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
  • One of the most important, and most difficult, parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
  • My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions and idiocy of every type, and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
  • I strive to be confident enough to convince people that I am in charge, but humble enough to realize that I am often going to be wrong.
  • I am to fight as if I am right, and to listen as if I am wrong, and to teach my people to do the same thing.
  • One of the best tests of my leadership, and my organization, is "what happens after someone makes a mistake."
  • Innovation is crucial to every team and organization.  So my job is to encourage my people to generate and test all kinds of new ideas.  But it is also my job to help them kill off all the bad ideas we generate, and most of the good ideas too.
  • Bad is stronger than good.  It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.
  • How I do things is as important as what I do.
  • Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk, and not realizing it.

How many can you say describe your beliefs?


Consult Levy has worked with many executives to improve their effectiveness and make them better bosses. We help with the tough decisions and help businesses, and their people, grow. To discuss how we can help you with any of these matters, please call 858-453-3778.  Learn More

January 2011

Picture of David Levy 
David Levy
Principal - Consult Levy
In This Issue
The Essence of Character II
Good Bosses



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David Levy

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Phone: 858-453-3778   
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