Do your goals dictate your character or does your character dictate your goals?
How many of us will compromise just a bit of our character, our who-we-are, to reach an objective? Contrast Internet marketing and our upcoming US Presidential election. Often I’m invited to market myself or my ideas in ways contrary to my own ideals. Imagine a spammer inviting me via spam to use them to market myself. Since I stand for character-based leadership, that doesn’t seem very consistent. Integrity would have me behave in a manner consistent with what I stand for. So why would I do something other than who-I-am to market who-I-am? Marketers? Thoughts?
And why do people who claim to be visionary leaders insist we should vote for them because “they’re better than the other person”? Where’s the vision? I wrote over on my personal blog about the futility of criticism. Leadership and empty criticism have trouble coexisting.
But rather than point fingers at others, let’s make this a personal exercise. Where do I compromise? Where do my goals dictate my behavior? Do I do something that’s “not me” in order to get you to follow me on Twitter or read this blog? Do I compromise “me” when selling my services? What about simply trying to impress you or my boss? What ways do I let you understand more than the truth on my resume or on my performance review or in my weekly report?
How do I behave when I’m filling out my taxes, reporting my income or making a donation? How would I behave if I wanted you to vote for me?
“So I turned my self to face me, But I never caught a glimpse, Of how the others must see the faker. I’m much to fast to take that test.” Changes by David Bowie
My takeaway from the US Presidential election and this exercise will be to question how I behave. I don’t need to apply my standards of behavior to anyone else. I don’t need to convict anyone else of my own questionable motives or treat anyone else as if they’re capable of the behavior I’m capable of or worse. There is no shortage of places where, when I’m all alone and as honest as I can be, I have room to improve. And if you’re honest, so are you.
What questions cause you to pause if you were the person being asked? And how can we use those questions to be better leaders?
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