What We Do: Character

In Quest of Character, Civility and Community

CHARACTER, the personal dimension of our model, expands the leaders’ understanding of identity, purpose, calling and competency in personal skills and practices; and deepens the meaning of the character virtues:

  • Integrity: A sense of wholeness, a sense of community within self—what Howard Thurman called “a healthy sense of self”—which is the basis upon which one’s unique potential and self-worth is understood.
  • Empathy: Sensing the other’s emotions, understanding their perspective and taking an active interest in their concerns (Daniel Goleman); it is the capacity to put oneself in the others’ place which involves sympathetic imagination, emotional intelligence, and resonance.
  • Hope: “Genuine anticipation of the future.” (James Gustafson) The capacity to envision possibility despite resistance and tragedy.

By character, we mean the narrative script that defines the individual; the stories that name the individual's experience; the "inner experience" or core philosophies espoused by the individual. Attendant to character, there are above-named three virtues that ethical leaders must allow to become part and parcel of their focus and personal deportment: integrity, empathy, and hope.

By virtues, we mean “good habits” (in the sense of Aristotle) or “an organized set of habits of reaction” (as defined by William James).