You Can Tell A Person’s Real Character By…

The real measure of the person is how they act when the spotlight is off.

… the way they treat people when they think no one else is looking.

… the way they treat people who “don’t matter” to them. People who can’t give them what they want.

… the way they treat you when they don’t need anything from you.

I apologize for the apparent sermon today. What prompted this post was a recent experience, where I overheard a client executive of ours upbraid a subordinate in a thoroughly aggressive way. The executive didn’t think anyone could hear him, and then when he came around the corner, it was all smiles and handshakes and sunshine. I lost some respect for that executive at that moment. The way he spoke was completely disrespectful, profane, demeaning.

And the experience got me thinking. We all know how to put on our best face when we are in important situations, with key audiences. But the real measure of the person is how they act in those other times, when the spotlight is off. So I started my list of best ways to tell what a person is really like.

The business relevance for today’s post is authenticity. We all have bad days. We all have days where we have to step things up, put on a happy face, even when we feel like crap. Even when we feel like yelling at someone. We all have those days. That is real life. But what matters most is the real person, the real personality, the real character.

In my experience the authentic leader and colleague, who treats people with respect even on their bad days, is the leader and colleague who engenders real loyalty. I always ask clients to think about this… do you want people to follow your lead because they have to, or because they want to? Think about it. And then think about how you act in the situations at the beginning of this post.

Have a great day.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at


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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.