In times of fear individuals often face great difficulty and disaster. Seeing how they face their fears and deal with life's challenges tells us a lot about the person. When things go really wrong, do they "own" it or look to place blame with someone else? In times of adversity, we see the the person more clearly.
Another time character reveals itself is during opportunities for significant financial wins, power, or other big gains. The most telling of these is usually power. Having power has a caustic effect on people with already questionable character because it gives them unfettered license to act, feel and treat others in ways that completely align with their own goals and self interests.
In a study by Katherine DeCelles, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto, people who cared less about morality were also more likely to break the rules at work if they had power.
How a person deals with both extremes when the stakes are high, reveals their true character. The choices made during those intense moments of truth exposes the depth of one’s character - that’s when we see what really matters to them, their degree of self-control, how they respond when their buttons are pushed.
Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.
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