Character, Competency, Leadership

By Edward F. DeRoche

Said the Queen, a woman of character, competence and leadership:

“It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”

“Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.”

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

“In times of doubt and anxiety the attitudes people show in their daily lives, in their homes, and in their work, are of supreme importance.”

“Everyone is our neighbor, no matter what race, creed or color.”

This blog is not the first time that I have written about “character and leadership.”  In 2000, I published an article in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and Development (September 2000, Vol. 39, Issue 1) titled, “Leadership for Character Education Programs.”  In the article, I suggested that school and program leaders should be visionaries, missionaries, consensus builders, knowledge sources, standard bearers, architects, role models, communicators, collaborators, resource providers, and evaluators.

In my March 2013 blog, I reported that the Turknett Leadership Group’s ( “Leadership Character Model” included three core qualities as the keys of “leadership character”: Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. 

My February 2017 blog discussed the Qualities of Character and Leadership.  I wrote: “Like most effective leaders, character educators have a vision about the future, about possibilities, about what might be for educating children and youth, about the balance between testing and teaching, about being smart and good.  They ask themselves: who are we (character and values), how do we perform (skills and talents), and how shall we lead (sharing, partnerships, team-building).”

What is This Thing Called Leadership?  This was the question I tried to answer in my July 2017 blog noting that P.B Stark wrote about the 10 C’s of Great Leadership.  His 10 included: character, communication, care, compassion, connectedness, commitment, conviction, competence, courage, and confidence. (

In the April 2020 Blog, The Essence of Character: Strengths, Skills, Habits, I reported on the work of Seligman and Peterson and their list of 24 character strengths organized around these six broad virtues: Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence.

I recently read a book titled LEADING with Character & Competence.  It was written by three-time CEO, Oxford-trained scholar, and consultant, Timothy R. Clark.

In part one of the book, he writes about:

“The Four Cornerstones of Character: Integrity, Humility, Accountability and Courage.”

Character is the foundation that competence must be built on.” 

In part two, Clark discusses “The Four Cornerstones of Competence: Learning, Change, Judgment, and Vision.”

“Those of good character who lack competence remain ineffective.  But competent leaders who lack character become dangerous.”

I said it before, and I will say it again.  You are educational leaders positioned at all levels—in the classroom, at the school, in central office, in your professional community, and in the public arena.  You are “leaders” and “character educators” who deal with “moral and ethical issues” everyday. 

And that being the case, it might be wise to examine the question:

Are you leading with character and competence?

Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., Director
Character Education Resource Center
Department of Learning & Teaching // University of San Diego
Website:  http:/


September 2022 BLOG