The way I see it there are only two sources of leadership.  Will you lead because you are in a position of leadership or because you are a person of leadership?

“Leadership is influence.” John Maxwell


Some people think of a leader as the person “in charge.”  If the person in charge was better leader or if we had better people in charge, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in.  Our world wouldn’t have the economic, moral, spiritual, physical or (fill in the blank) problems it has eddietoday. “If I were the person in charge, I’d do such and such.” The concept of a leader being the person in charge creates a subtle challenge: the labor for the solution and the power are separated.  A chasm forms between the solution (people) and the power.  I’m sure you know people who blame people in charge for many things but never do anything.  They feel or act powerless to do anything.  Like Eddie, Clark’s brother-in-law on Christmas Vacation, they’re holding out for a management position.


A person of leadership finds, even creates opportunities to lead.  Their influence rises out of their character, or who they are as a person.  The source of their leadership is who they are rather than where they are.

You see, our character is who we are.  According to Wikipedia, “The word “character” is derived from the Greek word charaktêr, which was originally used of a mark impressed upon a coin.”  It’s your mark.

“Our character is what we do when no one is looking.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Character-based Leadership

Character-based leadership begins with who you are, not what role you play.  We have too many role players.  We need more people bringing “who they are” to the leadership game.  When I talk about character-based leadership, I begin there.  You can be a character-based leader when you pick up trash in the parking lot or donate to Haiti.

Lead Change Group: Applying character-based leadership to make a positive difference

Our world needs leadership, regardless of the age or the issue.  That doesn’t mean we need more people in charge. It means we need more dependable people. It doesn’t mean we need more people taking credit. We need more people taking responsibility. It doesn’t mean we need more people giving orders.  We need more people doing the very things that need to be done.

LeaderPalooza 175In fact, we’re so committed to the idea that something must be done, we’re doing it.  We’re meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this February 19 and 20 for LeaderPalooza.  We have decided to add action to our talk. Don’t just complain about the state of leadership today. Join us!

Think about the difference between position-based leadership and character-based leadership.   Which is more hopeful, inspiring, motivating?  Which are you?

Next post, what are the promises of character-based leadership?

Photo Lion © Tom Prokop –

Mike Henry

Mike Henry

Chief Instigator at Lead Change Group
Mike is the Chief Instigator of the Lead Change Group and co-author with 20 other Lead Change Instigators, of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution... One Person At A Time. His mission: Elevate Purpose, Mobilize People. (Or is it Elevate People, Mobilize Purpose...) He's passionate about energizing motivated people to make a positive difference. Please comment below or click on Mike's social media links to connect.
Mike Henry


Interested in applying Christian principles in business and making a difference through relationships. Founder, Lead Change Group Leadership Teamwork Christian
RT @KevinEikenberry What to Look For In Future Leaders #Leadership - 8 mins ago
Mike Henry
Mike Henry
Mike is co-author with 20 other Lead Change Instigators, of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution... One Person At A Time. Check it out!