How Do You Treat The Help?…John Page Burton

Abraham Lincoln was a man who seemed to be very concerned with character and he was certainly a person who understood the importance of having a solid reputation. He once explained the difference between being of good character and having a good reputation. “Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.” Stated another way, your reputation is what people think of you and your character is who you really are.

We live in a very image driven world. It is easy to get caught up in maintaining the “right” image and subsequently losing sight of our character. Our reputation is a public relations function while our character is based on our morals and values. As leaders we must exhibit a strong persona but this persona must be grounded in integrity and action. Far to many people in leadership positions focus on wearing the right clothes and saying the right things but fall short when it comes to ethics. True character is revealed by actions, not words. How does the person in a leadership role react when “doing the right thing” may  cost them more than they are willing to pay?

Our character is greatly revealed by how we treat the people that we believe can neither help us or hurt us. How a person treats the help (people like waiters, drivers, housekeepers and other staff) will go much farther in displaying their true character than how they treat people in power such as their boss or others whom they are dependent on.

Character is not a brand new suit or an evening gown that we put on to make a good impression.  Our character is who we really are.

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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11 thoughts on “How Do You Treat The Help?…John Page Burton

  1. I recently took a discovery course and this was a major thing I found about myself. I spent too much time focused on the appearance of good leadership, and not enough on being a good leader. Something I am actively working on now. Very relevant for me. 🙂

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  2. How can a man so young have so much wisdom 😉 Seriously though, you do have a knack of hitting things right on the head. I worked for one of the leading teacher/speakers of our time and I am here to tell you, this person could , if they would get out of their own head, learn a great deal from this. Thank you

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      • I never really understood what my Dad was preaching growing up and this is spot on for what he was trying to convey. Life is constantly guiding me to this being the path towards fulfillment. Great reminder, thanks for article John!

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      • Steven, thank you for your feedback. If I could have a nickle for everything my dad shared with me that I ignored I could start a bank. We simply receive the information when we are receptive to it. Trial and error is an amazing teacher! In my archives there is an article regarding the school of hard knocks, which sums up this experience.

        Thank you again for your insight and feedback! Cheers!

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