From the “You’re Not the Boss of Me” blog Article
Personality vs Character in Leadership
“Personality refers to our basic nature. For instance, some of us are extraverted and some introverted. Some of us are even-tempered, some hotheaded, and so on. In short, personality mainly consists of those things we inherit genetically. It dictates our personal preferences and choices. And, it drives our social interaction with others.
Character refers to how we choose to use our inheritance to make our way in the world. Character is built over time. It comes from living, learning and making mistakes. It shows up in the decisions we make and the risks we take. Character measures and tests the strength of our will, our beliefs and our sense of justice. And it is often a hard taskmaster.
It was W. Somerset Maugham who once said, “ When you choose your friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character”
I think the same could be said of leaders. Sometimes, of course we don’t get to choose our leaders. And sometimes we don’t get the leaders we choose. However, we do get to choose the kind of leaders we are going to be. Will we ride on the coat tails of personality, going where the wind blows us? Or, will we rely on the deep-seated beliefs that form our character to guide us, even if that road is harder… and even if it makes us unpopular?
To many people, the answer will seem obvious. But, character can be difficult to discern. It can go for a long time without being publically tested or uncovered and can often be eclipsed by the strength and easy attraction of a winning personality.”