Monday, November 16, 2009

Patience : The Best Job Description!

The one word that should be in every job description is PATIENCE. PATIENCE is defined as accepting a difficult situation without giving a deadline to remove it.

Instead of using the job description as an excuse to NOT do something, a PATIENT employee accepts reality and makes the most out of the current conditions. To put it bluntly, a PATIENT person does not throw a tantrum whenever things don't go his or her way!

A person of character is one who has learned the meaning of delayed gratification. While it is true that deadlines are important, a person of PATIENCE exercises discernment and wisdom so as not to "cut corners" for short-term gains. A PATIENT person constantly evaluates his or her actions against a longer-term perspective - willing to suffer even present pains to reap future benefits. Isn't this the type of employee or colleague we all desire?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Responsibility : It Comes Before the Reward!

In most interview situations, there is inevitably the question of - "How much do I get?" As an interviewer, if I hear the issue of reward being mentioned before scope of responsibility, then I will be extra careful in hiring the individual. Reward is the by-product of responsibility and if reward is kept at the forefront of one's action, then greed and selfish ambition overtakes expression of good character.

RESPONSIBILITY is defined as knowing and doing what is expected of me. A RESPONSIBLE person can be counted upon not only to complete a task but also to own up should there be a mistake and be accountable to take any necessary action to address the gaps.

One characteristic of an unreliable person is the inability to keep commitments. A RESPONSIBLE person is not concern with the "prestige" of the job as much as the diligence needed to successfully complete the task. That is why a RESPONSIBLE person is creating for himself or herself future opportunities for success. If the current task is done well, then people can trust us for subsequent assignments.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Responsibility : It's Not About "Feeling Good"

Do I do what is right only when it feels good for me to do so? RESPONSIBILITY is about "knowing and doing what is expected of me." If that standard of expectation has its roots in my own feelings and emotions, then the result is one of unreliability - this is because emotions are subjective in nature. RESPONSIBILITY is a choice. It is choosing to consistently do what is right because of a sense of duty and obligation for the good of others - even if it means making unpopular decisions.

Here's a quick check for RESPONSIBILITY : When something goes wrong (as it often will), what is your first reaction? The unreliable person will be quick to blame and make excuses while the RESPONSIBLE person will first of all recognize what can be done within his or her own jurisdiction before looking at the actions of others. A RESPONSIBLE leader is one who is response-able i.e. he or she is able to choose to fulfill obligations and duties above personal biasness and emotional preferences. The basis of motivation for a RESPONSIBLE person is based on strong convictions and not slothful comfort.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Faith : It is the Toughness Factor!

Life is not about you. As a child, the world does revolve around you but as you grow (and I hope that most of you do!), we realize that with freedom comes an increasing degree of responsibility as well. In other words, we need to live our lives based on proven principles rather than selfish ambition.

FAITH is defined as confidence that actions rooted in good character will yield the best outcome, even when I cannot see how. FAITH is an interesting character quality because it represents your belief in proven principles that will work (despite the seemingly negative current circumstances). The opposite of FAITH is presumption - this is when we expect things to always go our way. For example, when sales are not coming in, do I practice FAITH to continue in my discipline of regular prospecting or do I give up and change job? FAITH is that ability to look beyond my comfort zone to a strong sense of purpose that compels me to stand firm in the midst of negativity. Tough times do not last but tough people do. Now, that's the essence of faith!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gentleness : Power in Softness!

GENTLENESS is defined as showing consideration and personal concern for others. There is a proverb which says that "a gentle tongue breaks a bone". How true! As human beings, we are created to be relational. Machines are functional but you and I are wired to be relational. We cannot jump just at a touch of a button - there is a couldron of emotions and motivations within us that needs to be addressed before we are motivated to act. In other words, we don't care what others know until we know how much they care!

GENTLENESS is a character quality that requires strength and self-control. Think about it - it doesn't require character strength for someone to raise his voice and vent his anger but it does require that extra inner quality for someone to control his tongue and speak in a way that addresses the issue but not attack the person. Practice GENTLENESS by being careful and conscience with not only what you say but also how you say it. GENTLENESS is the character quality that will help you make the connection between the head and the heart. Demonstrate it well and you will develop relationships that are high on loyalty and commitment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Justice : It's Not the Same as Fairness

"It's not fair!" - that's the cry of most children when things do not go their way. Come to think of it, even adults also lapse into this behavior regulary! What do you think?

In this world, there is no such thing as absolute fairness. The condition whereby everyone getting the same thing at the same time is unreal and ignore diversity among people. Why do we cry "unfair" so often? It is because the basis of fairness is comparison based on our own personal, selfish standards. JUSTICE on the other hand refers to unchanging, universal, morally upright standards of good character. JUSTICE does not waver in the midst of changing circumstances. JUSTICE is taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right, and true.

When it comes to making decisions (especially important ones which has far-reaching consequences), we need a standard that is higher than ourselves. How then do we guard against falling into the "fairness" trap when it comes to decision-making?
  1. Keep a clear conscience - Do what is right in each situation and live accordingly.
  2. Keep a journal - Learn to reflect on life lessons so that you extract tested principles for successful living.
  3. Keep the big picture - Consider the overall impact of your decision and do not be led by short term gains.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Honor : It is spelt G-I-F-T

HONOR is defined as "respecting others because of their worth as human beings." In a performance-driven and materialistic world, it is tempting to view relationships as a means to an end, using so that one can consume.

The concept of HONOR hit home during the recent Mother's Day lunch with my parents. To my shame, I have been spending more time with my business rather than honoring my parents with my regular financial assistance. Although I now have a family of my own, the need to HONOR my parents still remain. It is this character quality that forms a connection between generations. Why do we speak so commonly about the "generation gap" nowadays? I believe it could be due to a lack of HONOR shown by the younger to the older generation.

One practical way to show HONOR to our authorities is to bring a gift when we visit them. A gift means that we have been thinking about them - that means a lot. I have told my family that I now resolved to regularly bring a gift along whenever I visit my parents (and also my parents-in-law). If I do not make this connection now, my kids may not see anything worthwhile to connect with me as well ....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Virtue : The Secret to Real Personal Power!

The opposite of virtue is IMPURITY. How much impurity does it take to contaminate a pure solution? 

The strength of your leadership influence comes from the courage to stand alone - especially when you are in the minority! VIRTUE is the moral excellence evident in my life as I consistently do what is right. What is right becomes a future might. 

What are the areas where we may need to "stand alone" and do what is right (despite popular opinion)?
  • Choosing ethics over profits.
  • Caring for employees rather than exploiting them.
  • Keeping promises to my kids rather than making excuses.
  • Selecting the right type of friends and associations.
  • Being faithful to my marriage partner for life.
So many desire to have power and yet shrink back from the source of real power. VIRTUE - the moral excellence evident in my life as I consistently do what is right.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Virtue : Read My Lips!

VIRTUE is defined as "the moral excellence evident in my life as I consistently do what is right". In my lunch time discussion with my family today, we were wondering - "How can we quickly spot someone who is virtuous?"

My speech is a reflection of what has been regularly depositing in my heart. So, the most obvious way to access my character quality of VIRTUE is through the words which I speak.

Hence, the most "dangerous" part of my body is my tongue! Control it and the rest of my body will be under control. For VIRTUE to be a part of my life, I must simply watch what I say and how I say it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sincerity : The Step of Self-Reflection

SINCERITY is eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives. In being transparent, there is no better place to start than with evaluating our selves. Change that comes about as a result of self-reflecting will last longer than those which are imposed on us.

Here are six question questions for your self-reflection :
  1. Are you the same on the outside as you are on the inside?
  2. Do you judge others for things that you are guilty of?
  3. Do you obey outwardly, yet inwardly resist instruction?
  4. Do you do good deeds for the praise of men or out of a sense of right and wrong?
  5. Do you try to copy the achievements of others without adopting their character?
  6. Are you open to reproof and correction from others?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sincerity : Key to Real Communications

A beehive is an intricate colony with thousands of bees living in a delicate balance of cooperation. Clear and sincere communication between the bees in a hive is vital for the effectiveness and survival of them all.

Personally, I have a tendency to say what others want to hear due to my "diplomatic" nature but in reality, this causes more harm than good! There is a difference between tactfulness and fearfulness. I must ensure that I speak the truth from the heart with sensitivity rather than speaking to please others out of fear.

I must ask this question regularly : Am I prepared to stand alone for what is right? Once this conviction of "rightness" is settled once and for all, then the character trait of SINCERITY becomes demonstrable. A person who is a hypocrite is one who cannot live with the TRUTH. The opposite of hypocrisy is SINCERITY i.e. eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forgiveness : Test of Servant Leadership

Servanthood - it's nice to talk about it but don't you start treating me like one! Browse through the management titles in a bookshop and you will find a ton of books on the subject of leadership but try doing a search on servanthood, you may be disappointed. Can there really be a marriage between these two terms to create a cliche that suits everyone? Servant Leadership - it sounds right but feels awkward.

It is easy to lead from a place of positional authority. People sit behind thick, tall desks giving orders all the time - that's the easy part. This is because positional authority works only if there is a formal reporting structure i.e. people are paid to obey. What if you want them to go the extra mile, to put in that effort of excellence? That's where positional authority falls short.

Why is FORGIVENESS (clearing the record of those who have wronged me and not holding a grudge) important? When practiced sincerely, it reveals the "human side" of our leadership. We are not as infallible as we thought we are and we are ready to admit and confess when confronted with the truth. When we practice FORGIVENESS, we are sending out the following messages to our team :
  1. I do not have all the answers. I need you.
  2. I value your sense of personal worth and esteem. That's why I am sensitive enough to ask for your forgiveness.
  3. I believe in our future potential together. So, I am not going to let any unresolved hurts get in the way.
Isn't this what real teamwork is all about? Without FORGIVENESS, the team functions but it rarely moves forward. As a leader, your role is more than just positional - you must begin to embrace your sense of moral authority as well. Nothing demonstrates our sense of humanity more than the act of FORGIVENESS itself.