“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle
What does it mean to be a person of character? It is your values, heart, mind, soul, and actions all rolled together that make you who you are. The best thing that you can do to build your character is to:
Define your values and align them to your actions to build your character and create a firm foundation for you to stand on your platform and serve.
Look at the moments in your life that shaped your thoughts and created your values. It’s amazing how what you think becomes what you value. What you value, you will act upon. As a servant–leader, values drive your actions and create your WHY.
Here are the important elements of a servant-leader character:
- Maintain integrity – May your yes be yes, and your no mean no. Be authentic to yourself and to others. Create, set, maintain, and defend healthy boundaries. Do the inner work needed to maintain your integrity.
- Demonstrate humility – Humility is defined as strength under pressure. Strength under pressure presents itself as patience and kindness. This can be used as a tool to increase your influence with others. You can be patient and wait for the change to happen in a positive way. You are willing to surrender your ego for the sake of others. Create and maintain trustworthy relationships based on understanding and care.
- Practice Listening – Empathetic listening takes practice to develop the skill, and it needs to become heart felt. Listen to understand. Specifically, to listen with assertiveness and persuasion not power and position.
- Authenticity – People can smell fake a mile away. Work towards transparency and be yourself. It is the best way to connect with people in your organization, and it grows the trust and transparency necessary for individuals within your influence.
- Serve a higher purpose – A willingness to discover your calling and seek ways to use it for the good of others. Acting upon that call and using it to serve is a priority.
Creating a foundation built on the characteristics of integrity, humility, listening, authenticity, and service sets the individual apart from others. People notice and naturally want to be a part of what is happening. They will want to be a part of collaborative projects and organizational goals led by a servant–leader who stands on a platform built on characteristics cultivated by their values.
Cultivation of a garden takes time, patience, care, and the right nutrients. It is the same with cultivating leadership skills. I often think of the lessons that the Bible has to offer.
Luke 8:5-8 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold…”
The sower in the story is YOU. You decide what nutrients and conditions in which the seeds you plant will grow! What values, actions, character-building nutrients are in your garden?
If you desire to examine and explore more ways to cultivate your leadership, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.