Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring & Citizenship. The Six Pillars of Character seem pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand. But the Pillars may not be what you think. Here are a few examples:
Trustworthiness is about promise-keeping, honesty, integrity and loyalty. It is being trustworthy. What it is not: trusting others.
Respect is showing solemn regard to others by recognizing their worth as a human being, and treating others the way you want to be treated. You can show respect to anyone – no matter how much you disagree with their opinions, lifestyle or decision. Thomas Jefferson said it best, “I will treat you like a gentleman, not because you are one, but because I am one.”
Fairness deals with concepts like equity, equality, openness, impartiality and consistency. Fairness doesn’t always mean that everyone gets equal.
The key to fairness is having pre-established rules, applied consistently. For example, pretend that you are a business manager, and you must let one of your employees go. Decide in advance what the standard will be for choosing someone. Maybe it will be based on seniority, or maybe on performance. If you set the standard and then be consistent with it, there will far fewer “that’s not fair” responses.
The Six Pillars are definitely not easy concepts. Its okay to not always know the right answer – and its okay to struggle visibly. However, the Six Pillars can help you make the right choice in tough decisions.
Until next time…