***TOP SECRET LEADERSHIP RECIPES***
As aspiring and existing leaders, have you ever asked yourself, “How do I build my character?”
One thing that remains certain when it comes to success is the power of character. No amount of ambition or drive can make up for lack of character in life and in the workplace—it’s something that no one should underestimate.
I remember Martin Luther King, Jr., saying, “I have a dream; I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” This is still, to this day, one of the most iconic speeches of all time.
Today we’re stepping back into the kitchen for Part 2 of our Leadership Recipe Series – How To Build Your Character. If you missed Part 1, here is the recipe for Why Leadership Is Important In Life.
So, grab your apron, chef hat, and tools, as we will cover everything from the key ingredients for the importance of character to create a perfect leadership recipe, as well as step-by-step instructions for transforming your character into that of an inspirational leader.
Now let’s get started turning those leadership aspirations into reality.
I’m back again with my top-secret recipes that have never seen the light of day before.
But, please, don’t leek my secrets.
What Is Character?
Oxford Languages defines character as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”
Character is how someone thinks and acts. It is what makes someone special and different from everyone else.
● Being honest
● Making good decisions
● Being kind
● Having strong values and beliefs
● Being helpful
● Having emotional intelligence (EQ)
● Having a clear purpose in life
● Developing your strengths
● Seeking feedback from others
● Building an excellent personal brand
By focusing on developing these traits, you can successfully build your character.
“It can’t be stressed enough that leadership presence is an inside-out job. Always be authentic and remember your character is everything. Be true and know yourself.” – Sonia McDonald, author of Leadership Attitude.
Why Building Character Is Important In Life
People with strong character usually succeed in their careers and relationships and live more meaningful lives.
Character teaches us to make good decisions and be honest and kind towards others. Building character allows us to cultivate the qualities that make us unique while becoming better versions of ourselves so we can ultimately reach our goals in life.
Strong character gives us the courage to take risks, manage difficult situations, and stay resilient even when times get hard.
It also gives us a sense of ownership over how we live our lives. As a result, we make decisions that align with our values and beliefs. This helps us become better leaders and more inspiring role models for those around us.
Of all the character traits that exceptional leaders share, one of the most important is confidence. Those who can overcome obstacles and achieve peak performance for themselves and their organisations are known for being confident and upbeat. It is what fuels their resolve and determination – taken from Just Rock It!
The Key Ingredients To Build Strong Character
Now that you better understand character let’s look at how to build your own.
Here are the key ingredients to gather for this how to build your character recipe.
1 Cup – Self Awareness
Self-awareness is an essential ingredient when it comes to building character, as it helps us understand our values, motives, and how we interact with others. It’s essential for making healthy decisions in life. Self-awareness can help us better understand how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours impact how people perceive and respond to us.
Having greater self-awareness will enable you to become more confident in how you show up in the world and how your actions shape how others see you.
½ Cup – Values
Values provide the moral compass that guides how one behaves and interacts with others. They help us determine what is important to us, establish boundaries, and define how we should treat ourselves and others. They also allow us to have consistency in how we respond to situations and make decisions.
1 Tbsp – Principles
Principles shape how we think and how we act. They help us establish a sense of identity, allowing us to have clarity on how our values and beliefs should be reflected through our behaviour. In addition, having principles will enable us to keep ourselves accountable and ensure that our actions align with them.
½ Tsp – Beliefs
Beliefs shape how we think about ourselves, how we view the world, how we make decisions, and how we interact with others. Beliefs that align with our values help us consistently behave and respond to different situations.
2 Cups – Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Having EQ helps us understand how our emotions affect how we think and act. In addition, learning how to control or manage our emotions will help us have greater self-awareness, be more understanding towards the feelings of others, and how we should respond to different situations.
1 Tsp – Purpose
Having a sense of purpose gives us direction in life, which is crucial to building strong character. Purpose allows us to set goals, take action, and have greater clarity on how our values and beliefs should be reflected through our behaviour.
1 Cup – Strengths
Having strengths helps us recognise what we’re good at, how to use our talents to make a difference in the world, and how to take advantage of our abilities to create positive change. It also helps us set standards for ourselves and strive to reach our goals.
1 Tsp – Development
Continuous development is a key ingredient in defining a strong character. It allows us to continually grow and learn to be better versions of ourselves. Leadership development also helps us discover how to use our talents, hone our skills, and be our best selves.
½ Tbsp – Feedback
Receiving feedback is an integral part of leaders with strong character. It helps to gain insight and perspective on how our behaviours influence how others perceive us, how we can improve certain aspects of ourselves, and how we can use this information to refine how we show up in the world.
1/2 Tsp – Habits
Habits are the behaviours we repeat that become part of our identity over time. They can either be positive or negative, but how they affect our character is determined by how consistent and disciplined we are with them. Good habits such as reading, exercising and keeping a positive attitude help us develop self-discipline, resilience, courage and integrity – all essential traits in building strong character.
1 Cup – Brand
Creating a personal brand is essential in building strong character. It lets us consistently convey how our values should be reflected through how we interact with others. In addition, creating a personal brand can help us stand out from the crowd and how people remember us and our legacy.
Preparation time: There is no set time frame for how long it will take to establish your core values, principles, and beliefs, as this should be a continuous process of self-reflection and exploration.
Cooking time: Building character the right way takes time, requires action, and does not happen overnight. But by following the steps below, you can fast-track the time it takes to build your character.
Find out more about LeadershipHQ’s Leadership Micro-credentials!
7 Ways To Build Your Character: Step-By-Step Instructions
Whether you’re an aspiring leader or have decades of experience, developing your character doesn’t have to be a struggle, and it is never too late.
Here’s how to do it step-by-step and become the best version of yourself:
Step 1: Know Yourself
The first step to building high character is to get to know yourself. Take time for self-reflection and ask yourself questions like “What do I stand for?” or “How can I use my values in order to be a better person?”
Knowing yourself will help you realise how to approach situations, decisions, colleagues, customers, and loved ones.
This will help you get clarity on who you are as a person, allowing you to have greater self-awareness so that your actions align with your values. Knowing your strengths will also help leverage them for maximum success.
Chef’s Tip: Take the time to get to know yourself better by reflecting on your thoughts and feelings and how your values and beliefs shape your actions.
Step 2: Understand Your Beliefs
Understanding your beliefs and values can help inform how best to approach decisions and become an effective leader.
Additionally, understanding how our beliefs interact with the world around us can help us create healthier relationships with others and have a greater sense of self-awareness.
Beliefs are also closely linked to values, providing consistency in how we behave in different situations. A clear understanding of our beliefs and values will help us stay humble and true to ourselves. It will also help us set standards for ourselves and strive for excellence in whatever we do.
Chef’s Tip: Identify your core beliefs, how they influence your thinking, and how they should be reflected through your behaviour.
Step 3: Develop Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Developing emotional intelligence helps us understand how other people think and how we can respond in different situations.
We can also use EQ to build better relationships with others by listening deeply and understanding how someone else’s beliefs might be different from ours. This will help you collaborate better with others, be more patient, and always be authentic.
Chef’s Tip: Work on understanding how your emotions affect your thinking and behaviour. Your EQ can help you manage these emotions when responding to different situations.
Step 4: Establish A Purpose
Establishing a purpose is one of the best ways to build strong character. It helps you know why you do things and how to best use your strengths.
Knowing your purpose can help guide you to make significant decisions and become a good leader. It also helps motivate you when things get tough.
To find your purpose, think about what makes you passionate and how it affects you in different situations. For example, ask yourself questions like “What am I passionate about?” or “What kind of difference do I want to make?”
Chef’s Tip: Take the time to figure out your purpose in life – this will help guide your decisions by giving clarity on what goals you want to achieve and how your values should be reflected in how you behave.
Step 5: Leverage Your Strengths
Next in this delicious recipe is to leverage your strengths. This means using what you are good at to help you make the best decisions and be a great leader. Inner strength also helps motivate you when things get tough. It makes a difference in how you show up in different situations and can help guide your decisions.
Use your strengths in a way that reflects how passionate you are about something and how it can help make the world a better place.
Chef’s Tip: Identify your strengths and how you can use them to reach your goals and make a difference in the world.
Step 6: Commit To Continuous Development
Continuous development is one of the most critical steps in order to build character. It means that you should keep learning and growing.
You can learn new skills, try different things to be better at something, or even have fun and do something outside of your comfort zone! Continuous development helps you become a better person and reach your goals.
Also, seek feedback from others to understand how your character is perceived and how it can be improved. Then, ask yourself how you can become a better person and overcome shortcomings based on that feedback. This will help you build strong character over time.
Chef’s Tip: Commit to learning how you can become better versions of yourself by developing and honing your skills, understanding how emotions influence how you think and act, and how your beliefs shape how you respond to different situations.
Step 7: Build A Personal Brand
Your personal brand is how people perceive and remember you. Building a personal brand can help with how successful you are in life. It also can affect how far your reach goes for various goals like getting a job or building relationships.
Think about how to present yourself in different situations so that people remember who you are and what makes you special. To be your true self, you need to be consistent, which helps to create trust. It also lets you lead with purpose and leverage your brand to make a positive impact.
Craft a narrative that reflects who you are and how it can help people understand how passionate you are about something.
You don’t need a perfect personal brand – remember that building character is an ongoing process. So keep practising and refining your personal brand as you continue learning to become a better version of yourself.
Chef’s Tip: Spend time creating a personal brand that reflects who you are as an individual – this will help others remember you, earn their trust, and help set standards for how they perceive you.
Building strong character requires dedication and hard work. But, if done right, it will take you far – both in your personal and professional life.
Use this recipe by focusing on self-awareness, understanding your values and principles, honing your EQ skills, setting a purpose for yourself, leveraging your strengths, committing to continuous development, and crafting a personal brand.
Always remember that the process is ongoing and ever-changing, so don’t give up, even if it feels like too much to take on at once.
Instead, take it one step at a time and set realistic expectations – change takes time. Before you know it, you will have built a strong character that will last a lifetime. Also, compare yourself to where you were yesterday instead of to others.
Have fun building your character, and enjoy the journey as you become the best version of yourself.
Are you ready to build your character but not sure where to start? At Leadership HQ, we unlock the true potential of leaders to become the best version of themselves.
We are a leadership development and performance organisation. We encourage leaders to realise their full potential, discover their calling, and make a real difference in the world. With us, you’ll find a truly invested team that offers genuine care and support while telling it like it is. We are deeply committed to the success of our clients. You won’t have to deal with the egos of large consulting firms – your success and progression are everything to us. In our work, everyone feels safe and inspired.
We do everything –
- Cultural Development
- Leadership Development
- Executive Coaching
- Online Leadership Solutions
- Team Alignment and Building
- Safety Leadership
- 360 Degree Leadership Assessments
- Project and Bid Team Development
- Survey Design and Reporting
About the Author – Sonia McDonald
Sonia is founder of Leadership HQ and is also a renowned and award-winning author, having written several of her own books, Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and First Comes Courage as well as being a regular contributor in The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She was named as one of the Top 250 Influential Women in the world as well as Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs by Richtopia.
Through her leadership advisory and coaching work at LeadershipHQ, and founding the Outstanding Leadership Awards, Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and culture, organisational development, neuroscience, kindness, and courage.
Sonia is also a full-time single parent and has a passion for women in business and teenage mental health. Sonia travels and speaks across Australia and Globe, and she is on a mission to building a world of great leaders and leadership.