Senior Leadership Team holds Call to Conversation lunch on Leadership and Character.

University Advancement’s Senior Leadership team gathered over lunch on Monday, March 27, 2017 at Wake Forest University to discuss leadership and character.

We began by sharing moments in which we witnessed character in action. Some individuals in our group shared childhood stories, others described traits which they thought constituted a person of character, and most shared stories of authenticity and “goodness.” We quickly realized that character is never something that is transactional; it is a deep kindness that is a part of someone’s nature.

We began a group discussion about how there is a protective nature to character. Oftentimes, moments of character arrive in the reminder to others about the difference between right and wrong.

We applied this discussion to our team’s work as the leaders of University Advancement and connected it to office culture by discussing obstacles to creating a culture of character. This focus then led to a conversation about whether we can hire for character. After a lengthy discussion, one particular metaphor from a leadership team member’s college admissions essay resonated with our group: As leaders, we must be aware of the impulse to possess the ball, killing the beautiful game of collaborative teamwork.

Our conversation concluded with each of us sharing what we would take away from the conversation, and a clear theme emerged: Bringing others along, often by engaging the youngest, and modeling character along the way, is a good recipe for creating a culture of character.