Earlier this year I had the honor of hearing Michael Friedman, managing director of CRA’s Leadership Practice, talk about leadership secrets to a group of B2B CMOs.  Among many great angles, I especially appreciated Michael’s approach to character.  It’s clear that his practice values culture and character significantly in building and evangelizing great leadership qualities.

Here are the five character markers he prioritized:

  1. Never ask people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself:  Have you done it? Would you still do it?  Can you still do it? This is about credibility as well as humility, clarity and leadership.
  2. No one fails on my watch:  Will you stand behind everyone and everything? Do you go the extra mile to ensure your team’s success?  Do they know you have their back – always?
  3. Treat anyone and everything as significant: No ego, no unnecessary hierarchies.  If you take them seriously, they’ll line up behind you.
  4. Laser focus:  Can people own your attention from time to time?  Will you (can you) give them your undivided attention?  This is as much about focusing on objectives as it is focusing on your people.
  5. Your response to incidents will define you:  Live your values in the hard times.  Take blame and give credit.

How many of these are you good at today?  For me they’ve been a regular reminder of what I need to work on, and where I can get better.