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Leader's Insight: Assessing Character

Part two of a series, "The Three Legs of Trust".

Peter was one of the most gifted pastors I've ever known at his position. His programs at his church were known throughout the area for their quality and influence, and he was looked upon as a model for leadership in his field.

This man was having great ministry impact–all while he was having an extramarital affair.

Today, this pastor is out of full-time ministry. Fortunately, although he lost his job, he managed to keep his wife and family. But there are many who will never trust him–or another pastor–again because of his actions.

In a previous column, I introduced the idea that leadership trust is based on three legs: character, competence, and communication. Of these three, character seems the most obvious, and the one that is most often singularly equated with trust. Yet, it is hardest to assess.

Character can be defined as a leader's sense of moral fortitude, an inner compass that determines how a person acts when no one else is looking. Other definitions use terms like ...

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