Methodology “Leadership Based On Character”

The methodology “Leadership based on Character”, developed by the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey Business School – specifically by researchers Mary Crossan, Jeffrey Gandz, and Gerard Seijts – is the most honest, precise, and structured way to describe the Character inherent in every Leader, regardless of industry or era.

According to this concept, Leadership comprises three components:

1. Competencies: Intelligence, Human Capital, Organization, Business, and Strategy.

2. Commitment: Engagement, Aspiration, and Sacrifice.

3. Character: Values, Traits, Virtues.

The category of Competencies reflects a person’s intellectual capabilities and strategic, organizational, and business skills. Equally important is Commitment: a Leader’s level of engagement determines their team’s effectiveness, and Leadership often requires sacrificing personal resources or interests for the cause’s sake.

However, the most influential component is Character: it defines how Leaders perceive and analyze the contexts in which they operate, what guides their decision-making, and how confidently they take responsibility.

11 Virtues of Leadership Character

Competencies reflect what a Leader can do, Commitment relates to the amount of effort a Leader is willing to put in, and Character influences the decisions a Leader makes. According to the concept, a Leadership Character includes 11 elements:


This trait enables Leaders to foresee the path to a goal several steps ahead, to anticipate effective solutions and their implementation. An attentive Leader is aware of possible risks from the start and understands how to distribute roles and responsibilities to achieve the goal.


This virtue helps overcome any obstacles and inspires others to do the same. Passionate Leaders are always full of faith in what they do, which allows them to demonstrate high levels of productivity and persistence in achieving ambitious goals.


Effective teamwork is impossible without ecological cooperation. Accepting new ideas, delegating, compromising, and finding common ground is important. Every team member can contribute valuable solutions, so true Leaders are not afraid to interact.


True Leaders do not hide their respect for others. In addition, they show gratitude and willingness to help, as empathy builds reliable relationships. The trait of Humanity involves a high level of self-awareness and a genuine concern for others.


This trait involves not making important decisions spontaneously and emotionally, especially in the heat of conflict, but considering issues more deeply and thoroughly. Sometimes this requires dialogue, time for reflection, and often the ability to compromise, forgive, and acknowledge one’s mistakes.


The virtue of Integrity is directly related to honesty, as a Leader always speaks their mind and backs their words with actions. In integral cooperation, there is no place for hidden meanings: a Leader’s promises, actions, and decisions must align with their professional and personal principles.


This ability allows one to analyze situations from a rational perspective, excluding emotions and thus more objectively considering future scenarios. During crises, a Leader needs to work with this virtue to avoid panic and make thoughtful decisions.


This virtue rewards successes and is not afraid to point out shortcomings. Yes, it is not always a comfortable process, but it is honest, so one should strengthen their Leadership in this direction. Justice is perhaps the greatest value of today, as it leaves no room for corruption, silence, and lies.


This virtue involves taking responsibility for one’s position, implementations, victories, and even failures. Whether one-on-one or in front of the whole company, a Leader must honestly report the results of their decisions. This shows respect for others and strengthens trust in the Leader.


Courage in Leadership is not about the absence of fear but about overcoming it. In critical moments, Courage manifests in the willingness to take risks and implement changes for the common goal. A Leader is not afraid to dissent, even in the face of general disapproval, and creates new solutions.


Without this virtue, it is difficult to implement others, as prudent Leadership demonstrates decisiveness, pragmatism, and reconsideration. A Leader analyzes not only their actions but also collective opportunities, plans, and results: an objective assessment of the situation is the key to success.

More about the Methodology:

Today, the “Leadership based on Character” methodology is studied and promoted worldwide. In Ukraine, it is actively applied in various sectors, including education through the programs of the Center for Leadership of UCU, as well as with the military, public servants, managers, and the HR sector.

In May 2024, one of the co-authors of the methodology, Gerard Seijts – PhD, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Ivey Business School – visited Ukraine for a series of events titled “Crisis of Leadership in Times of Global Challenges” and was the keynote speaker at the Well-Being Leadership Conference 2024.