I don’t know whether I’m just getting a bit long in the recruitment tooth or not, but the question of character has been playing on my mind lately. I know so many people in business who are characters – they’re funny, engaging, witty, great to have a drink with and are endlessly entertaining. What I’m not seeing a lot of is genuine character – by that I mean characteristics that people admire and look up to – strength of character.
I value honesty and authenticity in people and I try to create an environment in my team where people can demonstrate their character, not to just be a character.
I had a candidate recently who lied to me about the roles that she was looking at. It made me reflect on my own behaviour and to consider whether I had created enough rapport with her that she felt that she could talk to me about what she was looking at. It’s important to me to always look at what I do that contributes to a situation – either positive or negative. The truth was, there was nothing that I could do, the candidate just didn’t have the strength of character to be honest and to tell the truth. Sadly, I’ve seen so much of it over the past few years, just a complete lack of integrity and even more disturbing, a win at all cost mentality, regardless of the consequences and it’s just awful.
Strength of character is standing up for yourself even when you know that you may be unpopular, it’s telling the truth when lying may be a more lucrative solution in the short term and it’s telling someone how you feel when they may not like what they hear. The best people I know in business have character in spades, they’re strong characters who are memorable for their convictions and for the way that they stand tall against opposition. Some are characters, and some are not, but the genuine character underneath always shines through.
Are you someone who is a character or do you have character? Will your colleagues, clients or prospective clients and employees remember you for your qualities and attributes, that you push back or question something because it’s the right thing to do, that you try to do the right thing no matter what, or will they remember you as ‘quite the character’?
I know what I’ve seen work well, it’s tenacity and strength and courage, and I’d love to see more of it in business because I see quite enough characters on the TV.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse, 23 June 2014. Thanks to The Wolf and Mr Tarantino for providing the inspiration for this post.