Why character is more important than competence
“People are interested in talent, God is interested in character.” - Rick Warren
A few years back, I used to listen to a popular Pastor’s sermons on a consistent basis. He was a brilliant communicator and best - selling author - he had it all... so it seemed.
There was a three week stint where he didn’t preach at all or post on his social media sites, which was odd. He was usually on top of that stuff.
After a little research, I quickly found out that he was involved in a massive moral failure that involved him having an inappropriate sexual relationship with someone in the congregation he pastored at his previous church.
Once the news broke - he was done for. His books were taken off the shelves, his teaching from the pulpit ceased and his ministry came to an abrupt end.
The crazy thing is: I have heard NOTHING from him since and this was three years ago.
I don’t tell that story to shame a fellow minister. I share it to illustrate the importance of having strong integrity and character.
To showcase that character is far more important in this world than competence.
It wasn’t his lack of ability that ended his ministry, it was his lack of integrity.
Yet, professionals, pastors and business leaders alike still get so caught up in and carried away with gaining competence, not character.
We read books on sales, not sticking to our word.
We listen to podcasts on managing our employees, not managing our temptations.
We purchase seminars and courses on communication with clients and prospects, not communicating with our loved ones. In fact, to discover for yourself that character is more important, ask yourself: what would you most likely fire someone for if you were their manager?
Someone who has failed in competence or failed in character?
A sales rep who lost a big deal or one that is stealing money from the business?
A pastor who is a sub par communicator or one that loses their cool and flies off the handle consistently?
An hourly employee that can’t seem to figure the job out, or one that lies on their time sheet?
I hope you are getting the point by now.
I am not advocating that competence is not important. It is extremely valuable and I am someone who greatly desires to grow in my skill set.
But, I can never let my skill set outgrow my integrity.
As Carey Niewhouf says: “Competency may get you in the room. But Character keeps you there.”
As much effort we put into listening to podcasts, completing coursework and reading books we should also put into being men and women of strong character.
Because competency requirements change wherever you happen to work at a certain time, but your character or the lack thereof will follow you forever.