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What is Character?

Anyone can be a leader because anyone can grow their character.

It is character through which leadership is exercised.” — Peter Druker

And from Warren Bennis, an esteemed thinker, and consultant,

“Leadership is not a superficial question of style, but has to do with who we are as human beings…The process of becoming a leader is much the same as the process of becoming an integrated human being.”

But what is character?

Character isn’t something you do but who you become.

Character is defined by the virtues you have intentionally acquired.

Huh? Let me explain.

To be a person of character means to have certain virtues, ethical and moral, that you’ve purposely grown in.

Growing up, I was known to be a bit of a hothead (sorry Mom and Dad). I really struggled to control my anger and process my emotions effectively.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I need to focus on controlling these emotions (self-control), refrain from saying certain things (prudence), and put myself in the other person’s shoes in a given situation (humility).

Over many years of intentionally working in this area, I’ve grown exponentially in the virtues above. My character is now characterized by these virtues.

Virtues are those moral habits of the mind, will, and heart (I like thinking of virtues as “spiritual muscles”) that dictate two things:

  1. Strength of your character
  2. Consistency or stability of your personality

Back to what we discussed last week, most people associate the ability or call to be a leader with personality traits. The ancient Greeks would have called these traits "temperaments".

But there is a flaw in thinking this. Temperament is something we’re all born with. Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine, or Phlegmatic. Every person has a primary and secondary temperament. Your temperament runs so deep that it’s intertwined with the makeup of your soul. You have no choice in what temperament you are—that’s simply how God made you.

This is why leadership can only be character.

Leadership and developing our character is an act of the will, a free act. If you acquire the virtues, you will be a person of character, making you a true leader.


Self-knowledge is critical to any pursuit of virtue and growing one’s character.

This is why understanding your temperament is a must. You can take this short assessment to determine your temperament. Once completed, here are a few other resources for you to check out.

Called exists for this: Evangelize By Community.

We do so by empowering ministry leaders like you to build thriving groups and communities in 3 key ways:

  1. Building digital tools that enable effective communication, organization, and conversation all in one place. Download Called today (Apple Store or Google Play)
  2. Providing education on best practices for leadership, building communities, and using technology. Follow us on Linkedin.
  3. Connecting leaders with leaders to share and learn from each other on what works and doesn’t work via our leader's community on Called.