The Power of Leadership Character

Dr. Gerard Seijts, Professor, Organizational Behaviour at the Ivey Business School, shares his research-backed insights on leadership character – what it is, how it can be developed and how it can be embedded in organizations.  

Character matters. In a year in which we’ve faced a global pandemic and growing unrest in pockets around the world, this has never been truer. But what is it and can it be developed?  

Dr. Gerard Seijts joins this episode of LeaderLab to explore the behaviours associated with leadership character and to offer concrete examples of how leaders can develop good character and embed it in their organizations. Based on research he’s been building since the 2008 financial crisis, Gerard shares the following insights on leadership character:  

  • Character is dispositional. It’s not based on your role on the job, rather it’s how you show up in the workplace. 
  • Character is defined by 11 dimensions: Judgement, transcendence, drive, collaboration, humanity, humility, integrity, temperance, justice, accountability and courage. Very few leaders get top marks in all dimensions. Instead, good character can be developed by continuously improving weaker areas.  
  • Covid-19 has not only revealed character in world leaders, but has demonstrated in real time how good character can produce good outcomes.  
  • Making time for reflection is important step in developing your leader character 
  • There are specific actions organizations can take to develop character within their leaders and embed good character within teams – starting with integrating it specifically into their recruiting criteria. 

Learn more about the 11 dimensions of leadership character

Access more leadership research from Ivey’s Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute.   

Meet Dr. Gerard Seijts 

Dr. Gerard Seijts is a professor at the Ivey Business School and a prolific researcher in a range of topics, including leadership, leading change, organizational behaviour, and performance management and staffing. Gerard also leads corporate leadership programs for organizations such as Aecon, Intact Financial Corporations, OMERS, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and many others. He has also worked with local government in Canada and Hong Kong on issues such as leadership and change. Gerard is the recipient of awards for research, innovation in teaching and outreach activities. He is the Executive Director of the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership.  


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