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Character has often been described as the difference-maker in sports, business, and life. As head of Ivey’s Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership, Dr. Gerard Seijts, co-author of the Leadership Character Insight Assessment (LCIA), has probably said that line hundreds of times. But it can’t be said enough because the importance of character in the workplace, especially leader character, has proved all too easy to forget in recent years.
Effective performance requires competencies and commitment. But without the support of good character, the strengths that come from having competencies and commitment can be seriously undermined. The best example of this was the 2008 financial crisis. If anything, there was a surplus of competencies and commitment among many of the world’s bankers. But shortcomings of character still caused the global financial system to nearly crash.
The good news is that the character discussion is now on — big time. And for that you can partly thank 2014, which provided a wealth of examples that clearly demonstrate the important role that character plays in the success and failure of any organization.
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