If you want to influence people they need to Trust you.  What makes trust possible – Character!  Being a person of character means projecting your values and principles in a positive way every day.  Character starts with values and principles.

Recent events bring two values to mind, Integrity and Humility.  Integrity is being honest and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.  Humility is being humble and accepting when you screw up, you make it right to those you wronged.

The character is being challenged of the NE Patriots as a team and the individuals involved in recent events and it jeopardizes the long term loyalty of fans.  The perception they cast, ‘why is everyone getting excited about the air pressure in a football, this is no big deal’?  The flip side, have the rules been violated and thus cheating has occurred?  For this lesson it does not matter guilt or innocence.  What matters is the appearances they cast of their character and past transgressions play into the passing of judgment.  The integrity is in question of each person involved along with the team and league.  This is a PR nightmare that could have been avoided with an ounce of humility.

A person having humility would say, “Someone on our team used poor judgment and we are dealing with that internally”.  There would never have been a huge question on the character of the entire team and how the league is handling the issue.  No one would be talking about this issue and I would be talking about a great example they set rather than using this example to highlight what not to do.

The act of humility shows you are human, capable of making mistakes, taking responsibility for your actions and holding yourself accountable.  Insecure people will view humility as a weakness while people of character consider humility a strength.

Like all values and principles, Integrity and Humility can be learned and improved upon.  You have the answers within you to improve your character.  Reflect daily on how you handle situations and what you would do differently.  Ask tough questions of yourself such as:

  • Did I do the right thing?
  • Would I trust me?
  • How do others view my character?
  • Am I proud of the way I handled a tough situation?

When you wrong someone have the humility to tell them you goofed up and offer a way to make it right.  Showing humility will build trust and character fast.

Chris Conway is president of Ember Coaching. Ember Coaching is about helping people develop life skills in leadership, relationships and how to think, not what to think, all centered on values and principles.