The Contribution of Values and Attributes to Character And The Intersection Bridget Gaussa Robert Morris University Abstract In the book, Be-Know-Do by Hesselbein and Shinseki it is said, “Character is made up of two intersecting parts: values and attributes”. (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) The purpose of this paper is to determine if the statement about character by Hesselbein and Shinseki is true. What contributes to character, values and attributes will be discussed in this paper.
The Contribution of Values and Attributes to Character and The Intersection In the ook, Be-Know-Do by Hesselbein and Shinseki it is said, “Character is made up of two intersecting parts: values and attributes”. (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) Most people, including myself would agree with their statement. According to Webster’s Seventh Collegiate Dictionary from 1963 character is “one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual: the complex mental and ethical traits marking a person, group, or nation. (Webster’s, 1963) In the more modern freedictionary on line it is defined as, “the combination of qualities or features that istinguishes one person, group, or thing from another. Moral or ethical strength. A description of a person’s attributes, traits, or abilities. ” (thefreedictionary, 2013) Character is what makes us uniquely individual and contributes to our personality. It is a complex combination of physical, mental, ethical traits and attributes. Our character is a combination of our morals, values and abilities.
It is not only who we are or our personal identity, but also how others view us. “Character describes a person’s inner strength. Your character helps you know what is right; more than that, t links that knowledge to action. Character gives you the courage and motivation to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. You demonstrate your character through your behavior”. (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) A person’s values and attributes become clear to others through their behavior.
Behavior is especially important for a leader as people hold leaders to a higher standard than the rest. Leaders are expected to be on the best behavior at all times. Like everyone, leaders values will affect their behavior, therefore, a leaders values are f utmost importance. “Values are the principles that help guide our behavior. Our values reflect the core of our identity, and are the lens through which we execute our goals”. (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2 ) Our values are attected and otten denned by the culture that we are raised in. Values are the principles and standards accepted by the members; attitudes encompass the actions, feelings, and thoughts that result from those values. Cultural values often stem from deep-seated beliefs about the individual’s position in relation to his or her diety, the family, and the social hierarchy. Griffin & Pustay, 2013) Values, such as duty, loyalty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are an important part of a leader’s character, since values greatly impact one’s behavior. Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) Successful leaders all have their own set of strong values. “People with different personalities, different approaches, and different values succeed not because one set of values or practices is superior, but because their values and practices are genuine. Our personal identity and purpose requires us to dig deeper to find what truly drives s – our calling in life – and then to translate the calling back into our work context. And if we find it impossible to make the two worlds congruent, then a fundamental change is essential”. Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) Successful leaders are true to themselves, their values and morals are never compromised. Along with strong values there are mental, physical and emotional attributes that are essential to experiencing success as a leader. Attributes are different from values in that they can be measured or seen through action. Some attributes, like our eye color is genetically inherited and cannot be changed. Other attributes, like our mental and emotional attributes can be learned and changed.
Mental attributes consist of will, self discipline, initiative, Judgment, self-confidence, intelligence, and cultural awareness. Mental attributes can be learned and changed. Cultural awareness for example, can be learned with education and experiencing new cultures through travel. Self-confidence is also an attribute that can be learned or developed as one reaches goals that they have set for themselves. Physical attributes are more than Just a person’s looks and may be more difficult o change for some than mental attributes. “Stamina and energy come from health and physical fitness.
Health is being sound in both body and mind. Physical fitness is the ability to function effectively in physical work, training, and other activities and still have enough energy left over to handle any emergencies that may arise”. (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004) Emotional attributes consist of self control, balance, and stability. “Maintaining self control inspires calm confidence in subordinates and encourages feedback from others. Effective leaders are stable, level headed under pressure and fatigue, and alm in the face of danger.
True leaders display the emotions that they want their people to display; they don’t give in to temptation to do what feels good for them”. (Hellenbein & Shinseki. 2004) They truly lead by example. Values and attributes, both contribute to a person’s character as we have confirmed in this paper. Values are the principles that guide behavior and our attributes drive or execute the behavior. Oftentimes, our character is Judged or evaluated by our behavior and actions. Therefore, values and attributes are inter- related when it comes to character.