If you asked anyone at ATX Event Systems, “What are the keys to your company’s success?”, you would no doubt get any one of four answers. One of those would be “character driven success” which is one of the four pillars on which we build our achievements. One of the subsets of character driven success is character driven leadership and it is a big part of how we build successful teams.
What is character-driven leadership?
Character itself is the set of morals and ethics that define what you believe in. This belief shapes how you act, what you expect of yourself, and what you expect of others. It boils down to a person’s ability and desire to do the right thing – regardless of how it impacts them personally.
When we talk about character with regard to leadership, we are talking about creating the foundation for ethical organizations. The most essential function of leadership is the demonstration and communication of character and an organization’s leaders inevitably set an example for the organization through their own behavior.
Character-driven leadership means that an organization sets out with the intention of building a company that strives to do the right thing in the face of adversity, and otherwise, and create a culture of a sustainable ethical workforce.
How do you implement character-driven leadership strategies?
Talking about character-driven leadership as a concept is quite easy. Most people would agree that doing the right thing as a company is a desirable outcome to work toward. But simply hoping that people will do the right thing, especially when it comes to business and politics, is like throwing a feather into the wind. It will take off on you unexpectedly and quickly and you won’t be able to reign it back in.
So how do you go about ensuring that your organization becomes a thriving hive of ethically and morally sound employees and contributors? Here are some ways to begin.
Establish a formal code of ethics and conduct. The first step is to write up a formal code of ethics for your organization. Your leadership team should partner with a legal team as well as representatives from the organization at-large to help draft what will become the guiding light for your organization.
Communicate that code with your workforce. Once the code is complete, it’s important that its contents are adequately communicated to the workforce. A code is no good if no one knows it exists or if they are confused about what it contains. Have a clear message and ensure that you deliver that message to your employees and get their feedback so you know what their level of understanding is like.
Provide quality training. Beyond communicating the code of ethics, the leadership team must provide training from internal and external sources to ensure that everyone in your workforce can adhere to the code and understands what is expected of them and their behavior. The training is not a one and done objective, either. It must be an ongoing process that consistently reminds employees of your expectations.
Create a system of accountability. This is where most organizations fail at effectively implementing character-driven leadership. While they may have established codes of ethics and conduct and provide training on such topics, they slack in the follow-through and follow-up. If the code of ethics isn’t enforceable and the leadership members are not living them each and every day, having them written down is a waste. People must be held accountable and there must be a formal process for administering reprimands for those who fail to follow the code.
Understanding how character-driven leadership can help create a top-down organization of ethically driven employees can change the face of your organization. It’s done a great deal for us. Not only has a clear and enforceable code of ethics helped improve the productivity of our workplace, it also helps to improve employee buy-in and satisfaction on the ATXES team. All of these things have been and continue to be necessary for our success and we believe the are essential to run a successful organization of any kind.