Bridging the Character Gap

Who are you?

What comes to mind when you read that question? I imagine you are thinking about your name, age, your family background and your career. Usually when asked that question, someone wants to know something along those lines.

The same question can be asked but with deeper meaning. This time think of the question in the context of the person you are inside that affects who you are on the outside.

Who are you?

Now the question becomes one of character – who you are on the inside – rather than reputation – who you are perceived to be by others.

Reputation certainly reflects character because more times than not what others see on the outside is truly who you are on the inside. You may be able to mislead others for a time, but eventually your true character will come through.

While this question is important to all of us, I think there is one group for whom this question is especially important: leaders. As a leader you have to know who you are in order to have the right influence on those you lead.

Leading with character is about doing what’s right even when it is not the popular thing to do. Andy Stanley, in his book Next Generation Leader, puts it this way: “Leading with character is not doing the right to avoid consequences. Leaders worth following do the right thing because it is the right thing.”

Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do regardless of the consequences requires a person who knows who they are on the inside. Leading with character is to decide to do right long before you have to decide to do right.

Leading with character is to lead with humility and respect. It is using your power and authority to build up, encourage and bring out the best in those you lead. Leaders with character will not belittle those they lead, for these leaders see others as persons to be valued and respected.

Leaders who know who they are on the inside and who are comfortable with who they are, do not have to mistreat others to feel good about themselves.

So, who are you as a leader? Do those around you feel good about themselves when they are around you? Do they see you as one who is trying to get the best out of them and for them?

These questions can be asked of all our roles as leaders, whether you are a CEO, parent, pastor, teacher or an influential person in someone’s life.

Here are a couple of test questions for your leadership.

  • Can those you lead come and talk to you about any situation that is troubling them, even if that situation is about you?
  • Will they feel safe? Can they be candid without fear?

Do not attempt to answer these questions without the input of those around you. If the answer to any one of these question is no, then I recommend you consider taking personal inventory of what’s on the inside so you can work to bridge the gap between who you think you are and how people really experience you.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.