The #1 Difference Between Good and Bad Leaders

Below is a list of 14 current and historical leaders — can you tell which are the “good” and which are the “bad”? More importantly, can you figure out the one differentiator between the good and bad leaders?

Harvey Weinstein (Hollywood)
Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos)
Lori Loughlin (Celebrity)
Jeffrey Epstein (Investor)
OJ Simpson (Athlete / Celebrity)
Bernie Madoff (Investor)
Ruja Ignatova (Queen of Crypto)
Tsai Ing-wen (President, Taiwan)
Mother Teresa (Philanthropist)
Jack Welch (former CEO, GE)
Rosa Parks (Civil Rights Leader)
Winston Churchill (British PM)
Malala Yousafzai (Activist)
Mohandas Gandhi (Indian Lawyer, Leader)

The Differentiator

First, who are the two or three leaders or mentors in your life that you most admire? Take one second to think of their names. Now, what traits and characteristics would you use to describe them?

Are they honest? Trustworthy? Do they know their values? Can you articulate their values? Do they ever compromise on those values?

Chances are those you admire pass those questions with flying colors. They have clear values they never compromise on. They are trustworthy and honest.

Now consider the worst two or three leaders that you have known or know of. Are they honest? Trustworthy? Do they have values? Have they ever compromised on common values? Can you rely on them?

Chances are those you thought of failed some or all of those questions.

In short, the greatest leaders are true to character.

The biggest failures, or “worst” leaders, violate and are not true to character.

What About You?

Are you true to character? Are you honest and truthful? Do you know your values? Do you ever compromise on those values — or you are unwaveringly true to those values?

Your character is your foundation for the life you build. Character is principle-centered and value-driven living that makes you a rock in your life and for all of those who know you. Your character is what makes you trustworthy, reliable, and dependable. Your character is also how people are going to remember you. It defines you – just as it does the great successes and the great failures of life.

Make your character a rock and be true to it. That is becoming your best – as a leader and individual.

“If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty. If there is none, beauty becomes ugliness.” – Nigerian Proverb

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