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When in graduate school I learned theories about human behavior. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provided the roadmap of how to put those theories into practice for anyone, especially leaders. The author of the book used the terms personality ethic and character ethic to describe the difference between intellectual and heartfelt leaders. Intellectuals (those who subscribe to the personality ethic) know the terms. They motivate for the moment. Stephen Covey calls their interventions quick-fix social band-aids. Whereas the heart-felt (character ethic) leaders understand that lasting change requires self-awareness and the desire to transform.

As stated last week real transformation takes time and conscious effort. It’s like learning a new language or losing weight. It won’t happen overnight. But it will happen when people are willing to work at it daily. It is one thing to know concepts and techniques, it is much more effective when those concepts are incorporated in the spirit and emotion of leaders and team members. I wholeheartedly agree with the words of my former yoga instructor: “you can’t give what you do not have.” In other words, if it is not heartfelt and authentic, you don’t have it.

There are three major categories I committed to transforming in my life through words and deeds.: The major categories are humility, empathy, and constructive action. I believe that we must be spiritual to get these values into our souls. I have learned that I am also an emotional person. At one point in my life, I was cordial, but “administrative”. Looking back, I realize that the personality ethic was my dominant mode of operation. I knew the terms, techniques, and lingo. With age comes wisdom. Through life experiences, I learned to manage, I mean, lead from the heart and employed the character ethic more fully. I am all about continuous improvement. My transformation is a daily work in progress. Some days I do better than others. I will explain what that looks and feels like in the coming weeks.