Ethical Edge

By Russell Williams

Ethical Edge

The Art of Integrity

The Ethical Edge: Inspiring Leaders of Integrity


Human Resource Specialist & Consultant

“Focus on what is right with people rather than what is wrong.”          
– Don Clifton

Early on in my career as a Customer Service Manager I knew I liked working with people.  I was fascinated with different personalities and just what motivated each person to do his or her job to the best of their ability. What I noticed is that when I took the time to listen and understand each person’s unique abilities something happened. Each person would strive to do even better and I was able to recognize where they excelled.  What I didn’t realize is that by listening and understanding each person’s unique contributions to the team it encouraged them to then listen to and accept their co-workers more, in turn creating a stronger team.

During my tenure as a customer service manager I had the honor and privilege of meeting Dr. Marge Barlow, a psychologist and strengths advocate. Dr. Barlow had come to the mill to conduct a strengths workshop for the management team.  Her message that day spoke to the total acceptance of others and how honoring the unique God given strengths of others could unlock hidden potential. She talked about Donald Clifton who was the “Father of Strengths Psychology” as someone who had influenced her.  He looked at what was right with people rather than what was wrong! Hearing this message unlocked my passion for the power that exists when we take the time to listen to people and honor their unique strengths.

Dr. Barlow helped me understand my own unique talents and gifts. I realized the power of understanding what I was good at and focusing on it to succeed rather than trying to improve on my weaknesses. So often we spend too much time expecting ourselves and others to be good at everything. No matter where I found myself, whether at work or in my personal life, I was driven to not only live a strengths based life, but to share this message with others.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we focused on what is right with people rather than what is wrong? It would be a different world where acceptance prevails.  Sometimes we are quick to judge and put up barriers without really listening and learning from those we encounter every day, sometimes especially those that we love the most.

Dr. Daniel Kahneman’s research suggests that we have 20,000 moments in a day with significant possibilities to encounter numerous people.  You never know whose life you could change by just listening for a moment and taking the time to recognize the unique strengths of that individual. I am mindful of how I spend the 20,000 moments in my day, reminding myself often to focus on the strengths of others rather than their weaknesses.


I challenge you to do the same in your part of the world to see what discoveries may be waiting for you.

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