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Carlsbad, CA--How do you react to a crisis? 

Often, the first thing to go in times of crisis is our leadership. In The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John Maxwell reminds us: "How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis doesn't necessarily make our character, but it certainly does reveal it."

Under heat and pressure, carbon can be transformed into a beautiful diamond crystal, or it can turn into common graphite. In the same way, our character can be shaped—one way or the other—by the heat and pressure we face when leading. 

So character is that deeply seated set of internal qualities that defines us as individuals and determines how we will act (and react) under pressure. The attributes that characterize each of us will be reflected in the decisions we make in a crisis. These same ingrained traits determine how we will react to temptation, especially when no one else is around or when no one would ever know the outcome of our actions. 

People of character don't cut ethical corners; instead, they accept the reality of circumstances and develop strategies to deal with them. They don't blame others but, rather, do the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing. 

True leaders are like tall trees—possessing deep-rooted foundations; the deeper the foundation of their character, the greater their capacity to lead.  

Next time you're caught in a crisis, take a moment to reflect. Reflection will build your character, and that will help you through the crisis.

Bill Boyajian of Bill Boyajian and Associates, Inc. is the author of Developing the Mind of A Leader, and consults for top firms in the gem and jewelry industry. Read his blog here or contact him at (310) 691-9562, email:, or log onto

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