This is a story about character analysis. It's also a comparison of integrity and honesty levels in two individuals. This tale is drawn from actual events. The specifics have been generalized, but the character biography presented by two individuals will provide clear differences in values. Character analysis presents examples of directions that build people up or tear them down.
We see plenty of examples from the side of tearing people down. Or running over them. We don't see nearly enough leaders coming forward who have made the full transition from "I lead the team" to "I lead the team." The same three words in each case, but far different results.
There are many pages written about character analysis in literature. There are also pages about teaching this subject. But I've always found that actual examples are the best teaching tool.
There is an organization that has been around for nearly a century. This entity has survived when so many similar organizations have been swept away by economics, changing trends, and population shifts.
Like so many organizations of this nature, there are people placed in charge of various divisions. In this case, we have "Geoff" who holds the title of development coordinator. In terms of personality types, he is an absolute choleric. He loves every microphone placed in front of him. He makes sure that everyone sees him in the front at company events. He is quick to tout his own credentials and is always in the middle of every photo opportunity.
This story is also about a melancholy personality named "Rich" who is a member of the marketing team. He shies ways from the spotlight. He likes to remain in the background. He prefers to develop new leaders who will take the organization to greater success and will become the faces of the organization.
So we have a clear-cut distinction in this character analysis. Just below is a list from our page about the habits of successful people. Where do you see Geoff and Rich falling in terms of this list? The differences in thought process and vision are quite clear.
* Embrace change or do you fear change?
* Accept responsibility or blame others?
* Share credit or take all the credit?
* Talk about ideas or talk about people, (gossip?)
* Take chances or fear failure?
* Want others to succeed too or secretly hope others fail?
* Seek to always gain more knowledge or just hope to skate by on what you know now?
* Listen first or are you compelled to speak first and then get in the last word?
* Look for ways to improve and to help others or do you only think of yourself?
* Remain honest and transparent or are you untrustworthy and secretive?
* Maintain a positive attitude including servant leadership or is it all about you?
* Manage time or waste time?
Rich looked for potential leaders. He sought to empower them to spread the message about the great things happening within the organization. He wanted to utilize their unique gifts and skills to raise up the entire team.
How could that possibly be seen as a problem? Who would ever work against such a plan? Only someone who didn't follow the positive side of those guidelines listed earlier in this page.
Geoff was concerned with his "stature" within the organization. If he lost control of the details of the group, his own position could be marginalized. For Geoff, it was all about him.
So he took steps that clearly illustrated his own character evidence. He poisoned the well. By this I mean he resorted to gossip and deceit in an effort to personally tear down Rich.
He tried to convince these future leaders that Rich was presenting bad ideas. Geoff used his "position" to attempt to undermine every effort to move things forward in a direction that did not put him in the spotlight.
Rich had two choices. He could lower himself to Geoff's level and become just another mudslinger and gossip monger. It was an urge that he found very hard to resist. Rich felt as though he had been unfairly and inaccurately attacked.
But he remembered that list. He remembered why he joined the team in the first place. It wasn't about him. It wasn't about recognition or applause. It was about making a difference.
So he resisted the urge to fall down to Geoff's example of negative character analysis. He let the negativity slide off him and continued to work in a manner that would benefit the organization. Rich remembered that Zig Ziglar said "Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you."
His efforts did take some hits in the early going. Geoff's "position" led some people to believe him, even without any evidence.
But the positive character evidence displayed by Rich everyday eventually won out. The people who had the genuine leadership values and skills saw through Geoff's pomposity and ego.
Over time Geoff was forced to come to Rich and offer an apology. It wasn't a strong apology and might not have been all that sincere. But Rich resisted temptation again. He chose not to hang on to past hurts. He declined to carry any grudge.
The organizational success was bigger than both of them. Rich knew this from the beginning. His positive character evidence swayed others to that way of team building and consideration. Even his biggest critics.