Great Leaders Build Leaders With High Character (Forbes Articles)

Great Leaders Build Leaders With High Character (Forbes Articles)

Why in the world would we talk about character now, as we discuss sales strategies?

There are so many other short-term, pressing issues to tackle now as we chart a successful “recovery” path, aren’t there?

Long-term, character issues? Let’s put them on the back burner.

After watching the evening news and reading today’s social media updates, I believe that character development is an important issue right now.


Character directly impacts our “trust factor” on all fronts – with employees, clients, prospects, salespeople, vendors, suppliers – and with all followers.

Character is our brand.  Our brand will last much longer than any Covid-19 Crisis!

I learned this from the research my friend, David Horsager, reported on in The Trust Edge: Trust, or the lack of it, has the ability to accelerate or destroy any business, organization, or relationship.

Your leadership matters – now more than ever.

Let me start with a story.

What is the Primary Task of a Leader? 

I remember the first time a leadership mentor  asks me, “What is the primary task of a leader?”

My mind quickly scanning all my mental file folders labeled “leadership.” I think of the experts that tout the importance of casting vision, formulating strategy, aligning resources, and motivating people. Then, I consider other gurus who stress the important roles of coach, change agent, direction setter, and spokesperson.

Primary. Hmmmm….nothing pops out of my mental file folders as primary.

Putting me at ease, my mentor says, “The primary task of a leader is to build other leaders.”

I confess I’m a bit stunned. In all my leadership studying over the years, I personally hadn’t come across this concept. OK – I maybe wasn’t reading the right resources. But, I hadn’t heard it before.

Yet, I resonate.

Yes, the primary task of a leader is to build other leaders.

The Leader’s Character 

Let me expand a bit further.

I believe the primary task of a leader with a strong moral character is to build other leaders with strong moral character.

Character directly impacts the “trust factor” on all fronts and all followers.

The world is desperately searching for leaders they can trust.

The future is unpredictable. Yet, this is predictable – high-impact leaders have a courageous character core, who chose to do what is right over what is easy, will succeed in the long-run. ~ Danita Bye

Character counts now…. more than ever.

  • Our character is revealed during these tumultuous times.
  • Our character is on full display for others to see when we are pressed to our limits.
  • Our character is tested in the crucible of adversity.

The D.A.K.O.T.A Leader

In Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader, I use an acronym to discuss what character means in practical, real-world situations:

  • Determination
  • Awareness
  • Knowledge
  • Optimism
  • Trustworthiness
  • Accountability

Watch this video for more on the DAKOTA Leader:

To bolster our  “trust factor,” and to make a positive difference, the characteristics need to pervade our entire organizations. In fact, we may not be able to even recover without these virtues and values.

As a contributor to the Forbes Coaches Council, I wrote frequently about the importance of strengthening character.  Now might be a great time to refresh ourselves on key these ideas and how they impact our leadership strategies during this Recovery.

To Succeed in Business, Build Your Millennial Leader Through Character Development

The acronym, DAKOTA, is based on my upbringing on a North Dakota ranch.  It provides practical tips on strengthening determination, awareness, knowledge, trustworthiness, and accountability in your millennial salespeople. These are the character traits that will assist them to thrive in a post-coronavirus culture.

Does Character Really Count for Millennial Sales Leaders?

See how the cowboy code of ethics, also known as the Code of the West, can position your millennial salespeople as trusted advisors in an increasingly competitive world where companies are doing anything and everything just to stay afloat.

Two Secrets to Building Resilience in Millennial Leaders to Achieve Sales Results

Get tips on how to inspire your millennial salespeople to get up off the mat when they fail, get back into the ring, and make their next call. We explore the concept of Sisu and how to coach Millennials to innovate in the face of chaos and disruption.

How to Help Your Millennial Salespeople Focus on Improved Accountability

Accountability, responsibility, and ownership are crucial character traits to unleashing maximum results. Learn how to create an accountability culture in your business, even during finger-pointing a blame-gaming is rampant on the evening news and social media.

Your Leadership Matters

These are NUTS times.  I believe that your leadership matters greatly during this hour. It is in adversity our character is tested, strengthen and revealed.

Your leadership matters and your millennial salespeople need your wisdom, experience, and guidance – now more than ever.

Join Me for a Free Virtual Coffee Meeting
Having challenges keeping your team engaged and focused in a productive direction? I invite you to schedule a free virtual coffee meeting with me. No charge, no obligation. Just a one-on-one for 45 minutes to talk through what challenges are happening, receive personal tips, advice, and next steps on how to solve those challenges. To schedule, email me at

Leadership Lesson: Strengthening the character core of your millennial salespeople will be a driver and differentiator of your business during this crisis.

Leadership Question: What are you doing to build a courageous character core in your millennial salespeople to guide them through these chaotic times?

This article appears in my Aug 2020 Newsletter.

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