Adversity doesn’t produce character, it reveals character.
EMC Member Series: Doug Harper, GM of Blommer Canada (one of North America’s largest chocolate suppliers) continues his a series of articles for EMC. Members will know Doug from his many GMP articles and speaking appearances at EMC events, as well as his team’s Lean journey and culture transformation.
I wish I could tell you I have mastered what I'm about to write. The truth is, I haven't. I'm a work-in-progress. We all are. To quote a mentor of mine: "we are all fallible human beings".
What I do hope is that my journey helps you on yours.
We've all had days and weeks and possibly months where things go horribly wrong at work. How did you/ how do you handle the ensuing challenges?
As people we all bring to the table our unique blend of traits and characteristics. What defines us as leaders is our behaviours - good and bad. Good leaders, effective leaders demonstrate character.
What is your character when things go wrong?
- Do you focus on problems or solutions?
- Do you seek to control or to understand?
- Do you ask questions or have all the answers?
- Do you show empathy or indifference?
- Do you speak or do you listen?
- Do you forge ahead or do you take a step back?
- Do you roll up your sleeves or keep your distance?
- Do you take responsibility or look to assign blame?
- Do you criticise or support?
The list of questions that speak to character is endless. What is never endless is the need for self-awareness and self-examination.
You don't need me to tell you the desirable answers to these questions. I don't answer these questions correctly all the time. You won't either. What we should all strive for is the discipline to be aware of these questions and the consistency in our behaviour to ask them of ourselves more often than not.
Reveal your character - be a leader.