Personal Success in Helping Others Succeed
At the core of good character is the recognition that we win most by helping others win.
I find it helpful to think of good character in terms of three TRAITS: Integrity, Selflessness, and Responsibility. Each of those traits can be further detailed as a set of ATTRIBUTES. (See diagram.) The central trait of good character is Selflessness.
If you had to choose between living in a world where everyone was selfish and one where everyone was completely selfless, which would you choose? Continue reading Character Traits: Selflessness
The Right Thing Above My Own Thing
“Character” is easier to recognize than it is to define in a succinct and meaningful way. It’s about mental and moral qualities that define what “normal” is for us. Some have defined it as who we are when no one else is looking.
My way of getting a handle on good character is to define it in terms of three TRAITS: Integrity, Selflessness, and Responsibility. Each of those traits can be further detailed as a set of ATTRIBUTES. (See diagram.) Let’s explore the trait of Responsibility.
When you’re responsible for something, you accept that you own the success or failure of it. No excuses, no passing the buck or blaming others.
A responsible person keeps their eyes focused on the things that matter most. The choices they make demonstrate a willingness to say “no” to personal desires to fulfill their commitments. That also implies they recognize their own limitations and don’t commit to what they can’t deliver. Continue reading Character Traits: Responsibility
The Real You, Everywhere, All the Time
Would you prefer to hire people of good character or bad character? Silly question…perhaps even sillier is to ask whether you want to be known as a person of good character or bad. But what is good character?
There are countless adjectives that could describe aspects of good character. I use a model that describes it in terms of three TRAITS: Integrity, Selflessness, and Responsibility. Each of those traits can be further detailed as a set of ATTRIBUTES. (See diagram.)
In grade school we learned about integers – whole numbers, not fractions. That’s the essence of the word integrity: To be complete, consistent, undivided. With a person of integrity, what you see is what you get. You don’t wonder which person you’ll see under today’s circumstances; you can count on them to be real all the time. Even if being real causes them personal discomfort or even pain. Continue reading Character Traits: Integrity
Probing Beyond the Hard Skills
I want to share this list of insightful interview questions, adapted slightly from those used by a client. Try asking some of these in your interviews to assess the culture impact of your potential hires:
- Describe a skill you feel you are missing.
Can the candidate properly assess himself/herself? Humble enough to see where a skill is missing? Desire to learn new skills? Hunger to be better?
Looking for: HUMILITY; SELF-AWARENESS; DESIRE TO IMPROVE; HUNGER
- Describe a situation where you had to admit to others that you had made a mistake. How did you handle the situation?
Does the candidate have the humility and integrity to admit mistakes and apologize? Have the people skills to effectively verbalize the admission of mistakes to others? Care enough about the team to be honest for the benefit of the team?
Looking for: HUMILITY; INTEGRITY; PEOPLE-SMARTS; TEAM; CARING ABOUT PEOPLE
- Describe the dynamics of the best team you have been a part of.
Is there humility to put team above self? Indications of caring about fellow team members? A passion regarding team performance; a shared team standard of excellence; results better together than apart? Examples of team innovation?
Looking for: TEAM; HUMILITY; CARING ABOUT PEOPLE; EXCELLENCE; INNOVATION
- We all have people that we don’t hate but dislike. Why did/do you dislike a former/current co-worker and how have you dealt with him/her?
Can they explain the dynamics without disparaging the person? Do so in a professional way? Do so while protecting the other person’s reputation? Express empathy or understanding about someone they do not like?
Looking for: PEOPLE-SMARTS; INTEGRITY; CARING ABOUT PEOPLE
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a big adjustment in order to succeed.
Is this person able to be flexible? Innovate or find creative solutions? Have a hunger for excellence that will not be derailed by obstacles?
Looking for: FLEXIBILITY; INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY; EXCELLENCE; HUNGER
- What is a misconception that people may have about you?
How realistic is the candidate’s self-perception? Humble or selfish as they express the misconception? Mature/immature in what they express? Care about how the misconception affects their team or others? Express their concerns about this misconception in a socially appropriate way?
Looking for: SELF-AWARENESS; HUMILITY; CARING ABOUT PEOPLE; PEOPLE-SMARTS; TEAM
- Describe the boss who would get the very best from you.
Is the candidate aware of what helps them succeed? Express their relationship with the boss in the context of team? Examples of humility in describing the best boss? Want a boss who holds to high standards vs. coddling them?
Looking for: SELF-AWARENESS; TEAM; HUNGER; HUMILITY; EXCELLENCE
- What are you most passionate about?
What gets this person excited? Animated? Truly hungry about? Examples of caring about other people as more important than self? Service-oriented traits? Passion to do something really well? Passion for self-improvement?
Looking for: PASSION IN GENERAL; CARING ABOUT PEOPLE; EXCELLENCE; HUNGER
 Courtesy of Action Property Management
A Paradoxical Relationship
Transparency is often touted as foundational to building trust. And it can be – or not…
We live in a culture that equates our desire to know something with our right to know it. We feel entitled to tap into the endless free-flow of information, believing that anyone who holds anything back is hiding something and can’t be trusted. Except, of course, that we choose to keep some things private and we can be trusted. Continue reading Trust and/or Transparency
Competence, Character, and Motivation
Building a high level of trust within an organization can seem like the search for the Holy Grail: It’s highly valued, but very elusive.
Some of us believe that trust must be earned. We’re not willing to accept the risk of betrayed trust. Some of us grant trust more freely until we have reason to withhold it. We recognize that people give their best when we expect the best out of them. Most of us start off relationships somewhere between extreme trust and extreme lack of trust.
We Don’t Need Trust Where There Is No Risk
Continue reading Sources of (Dis)Trust
Leveraging Your Personal Values
Our guest blogger, Andrew, is currently serving as an intern at enLumen Leadership Services. Andrew wrote this article about his older brother, Timothy, who continually inspires Andrew toward excellence as he pursues his career in the music industry.
Timothy was nineteen when he landed the job in Community Care, a public relations branch at Action Property Management Company. Typical kid, typical entry-level job. What set Timothy apart were the values behind his work ethic. Timothy is the sort of person who will not rest until he has done the best, most efficient job possible. From day one, he demonstrated this through his tireless pursuit of excellence at Action. Continue reading Success From the Start