By Dr. John C. Maxwell
Read Joshua 1
“In the last two issues of Leadership Wired, I presented two mistakes that I made as a young leader:
1. I thought that leaders distinguished themselves by rising above their people.
2. I thought as a leader, the people should be focused on my agenda.
A third mistake that I made as a young leader was that I used to think that charisma was the most important aspect of leadership. In the beginning, I focused on charisma because I know that leadership attracts, and leadership influences people. Therefore, I thought, “Well, if I’m going to influence people I’ve got to develop charisma in my life.” I’ve been around enough boring leaders to say that is a desire that most of us should have!
What I learned is that character is the most important aspect of leadership, not charisma. Charisma attracts, but character sustains. In fact, I think charisma, in the area of leadership, is overrated.
Character embodies who you really are. It’s the inner fiber of your being. It is your inner self in action. It reveals what you are truly made of, it’s your substance. Character is, as D.L. Moody said, “What you are in the dark.”
If you have charisma without character, it’s only a matter of time before people find you out. Without character you cannot sustain meaningful relationships, and without relationships your ability to lead and influence others is anemic.
So what is it about character that really makes a difference?