Character: Dimensions and Elements

Gerard Seijts and colleagues define character as "an amalgam of virtues [situationally appropriate behaviors], traits [personality dimensions] and values [deep-seated beliefs]".1 Character comprises the foundations of how we function and make decisions. It shapes our perception and engagement of the world around us, and determines what we choose to act upon and how we set personal goals.

The model developed by Seijts et al. (2015)1 has four principal characteristics:

  1. each of the eleven dimensions is composed of individual elements that influence the strength of the dimension;
  2. the dimensions are interdependent and interact in ways that govern overall strength of character;
  3. both excess and deficits of character dimensions (and their constituent elements) can weaken overall character; and
  4. judgement acts as the central, coordinating dimension that regulates how overall character influences behavior.

Eleven Character Dimensions Network

Alternative Transcript


As a character dimension and element engages in a dialogue with the following additional associated virtues.


Appreciative, inspired, purposive, future-oriented, optimistic, creative


Passionate, vigorous, results-oriented, demosntrates initiative, strives for excellence.


Cooperative, collegial, open-minded, flexible, interconnected.


Considerate, empathetic, compassionate, magnanimous, forgiving.


Self-aware, modest, reflective, continuous learner, respectful, grateful, vulnerable.


Authentic, candid, transparent, principled, consistent.


Patient, calm, composed, self-controlled, prudent.


Fair, equitable, proportionate, even-handed, socially responsible.


Takes ownership, accepts consequences, conscientious, responsible.


Brave, determined, tenacious, resilient, confident.


1Seijts, G., Gandz, J., Crossan, M., and Reno, M. (2015) Character matters: Character dimensions' impact on leader performance and outcomes. Organizational Dynamics. 44(1), 65-74.