Sweat the Small Stuff

'Character always trumps gifting in leadership.  And character is made up of many small acts of integrity.  Effective leaders have to pay attention to the small stuff even if they are big picture thinkers' (Hans Finzel, The Top Ten Leadership Commandments)

All of us can probably think of people who have been removed from leadership positions over issues of integrity, that no doubt started out small. Small stuff, that if ignored, will take you out.  It may be in the area of finances, relationships, truthfulness, personal use of work time or internet and media compromises.  Maybe it's failing to keep promises, or not following through with commitments.  There are many examples of things that start out as small corner cutting and compromises that ultimately undermine our integrity and character.  As leaders, we need to set a higher standard, we need to pay attention to our character. 

Hans explains that peoples contribution in the workplace is made up of professional skills and people skills.  Great professional skills without the personal relationship side, doesn't work.  Nor does great people skills without the professional follow-up.  The ideal leader has a balance of good competencies and a solid character.

When he is hiring, there are four areas he considers:-

  1. Personal character - does this person have a good reputation and track record in their character?  Are they known as a person of integrity that people speak well of?
  2. Professional Competence - do they have the skills to get the job done?
  3. People Chemistry - is this person comfortable to be around? Are they a proven team player who gets along well with people?
  4. Perception of Culture - is this person a good match for our corporate values?  Are they passionate about what we are?

With integrity comes respect and trust.  When people know you are a person of integrity, respect and trust will follow.  It will be impossible to be an effective leader without the respect and trust of those you lead.  Let's take time to pay attention to the small stuff that builds our character.

Question to Ponder - What areas of your character do you need to pay attention to?