How to Measure the Character of Your Leadership

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Can the character of your leadership be measured?

Character is at the core of effective leadership. Without a deep sense of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, and so on, nothing else in leadership really matters.

But if this is so important it raises important questions such as:

  • What does character in leadership really look like?
  • How can a leader know they are growing in the area of character?
  • What are the essential ingredients of a high-character leader?

Well, a recent conversation I had in Australia provides some great insights.

I spent some time with one of the Willow Creek Association founding leaders of the ministry in Australia, Phillip Mutzelburg.

I asked Phillip these questions, and he immediately took me to a resource that might be the definitive word on the subject.

In Matthew 5, Jesus taught on a series of characteristics we now call the Beatitudes.

“These qualities,” Phillip explained, “provide the best picture I think you’ll find anywhere of what a high-character leader looks like.”

Check out this abbreviated version of the text and you’ll see what he means.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit
  • Blessed are those who mourn
  • Blessed are the meek
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
  • Blessed are the merciful
  • Blessed are the pure in heart
  • Blessed are the peacemakers
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness

Imagine if more and more leaders were so authentically humble that their demeanor could be described as poor in spirit, even mournful. (Which is not to say they can’t be fun-loving, positive people, they simply don’t exude arrogance and showmanship)

Imagine if more and more leaders led in a way that could be described as merciful, pure in heart, and peacemaking.

Imagine if more and more leaders were genuinely meek, (which is not to be confused with “weak”; meekness flows out of strength)

Imagine if more and more leaders stood out in the crowd because of their inherent sense of rightness.

The point is that Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes serves as an ideal template for what leaders should strive for in their character.

So why not adopt this template as your own leadership-character metric.

And imagine what this could mean in your own leadership.

What do you think of this approach?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


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