Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
Elderly man with character playing piano

Is good character good for the bottom line?

Here is a typical slide in a presentation about leadership:

…research shows that promoting leaders who truly seem to care and do the right things for their people reduces turnover, reduces stress in the workplace, and increases profits over the long term.

Prior to being exposed to leadership trainer Linton Sellen, I often nodded right along with this type of statement. And it never occurred to me to ask why people felt it necessary to justify doing the right thing from a profit point of view.  But I have questions now:

  • Would we all learn how to become tyrannical, over-controlling, and spiteful if research showed that such behaviour was more profitable?
  • Will an uncaring, manipulative, mean leader try to change their ways to increase profits?

Hardly. In my experience people either have good character or they don’t. For the most part, people are who they are.

Good leadership involves caring about people and doing the right things. So when selecting leaders, remember that the toughest thing to change in a person is character. Select for character and develop their leadership wisdom over time. When your organization is led by such people, good results inevitably follow.