HAT DO WE MEAN when we say someone is good? Good is often confused with competency. But it is really a character issue. You can be good at your job but doing good is a character issue. Doing good is not just no being bad but intentionally creating more good in the workplace and especially in others.
Anthony Tjan, author of Good People says, “Pursuing goodness in yourself while surrounding yourself with good people is the only leadership decision that really, truly, matters.”
Tjan begins a discussion by trying to define good and to build a framework and language to talk about what good is. He defines good people as “those committed to continuously cultivating the values that help them and others become the fullest possible versions of who they are.”
He discusses in detail a concept of goodness based on three cornerstone values:
Truth: A mindset of humility that makes you teachable. Self-awareness and integrity between your thoughts and actions based on that self-awareness
Compassion: An open mind that without bias allows you to understand the actions of others. To practice empathy and act on that empathy with a generous spirit that gives people what they need.
Wholeness: Involves gratitude for the people around you that leads to an outgoing concern for others. Caring and nurturing the growth of others. Having the respect to fulfil your obligations to yourself and others and acting with a degree of wisdom. Knowing what is important.
As leaders this is easier said than done. Daily we face tensions that have to managed as we try to implement our ideals real. Tjan lists five core tensions:
What can we do?
Good people do five things:
Good people put people first in their decision making. What does this do to my people?
Good people grow by continually seeking to improve themselves and help others to become fuller versions of themselves.
While good people value competency, they place a premium on character and values. They commit beyond competency to character and values of truth, compassion, and wholeness.
Good people are realists and find the balance between competing priorities and tensions. Learn to balance the tensions that exist in leadership
Good people aren’t situational but seek to do good at all times. Don’t just practice goodness to avoid badness.
These five things are the Good People Mantra. They are five promises. As leaders we need to break from our role as leader to follower and relate to others human to human. Goodness come from building it in yourself and inspiring it in others.