What is it about?

Character is considered a precursor of trust; and trust is seen as foundational to effective leadership. Citizens want to invest their trust in leaders to guide them forward, especially in times of crisis, which often involve uncertainty, ambiguity, and anxiety. We tested this set of assumptions during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic using a newly developed character framework to assess the leadership of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Why is it important?

What makes our research unique is that character is an under-researched attribute of leadership and yet, as our results suggest, character contributes to perceptions of trust and leadership effectiveness. The framework we used clarifies the construct of character by explicating the positive behaviors associated with character.


The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a defining moment for many leaders: the crisis revealed the best and worst in our leaders. And if a crisis is a defining test for leaders and their character, then, as many observers have noted, not everyone has passed this one. I hope you find the article of interest and consider its implications for developing, becoming, following, or voting for leaders.

Gerard Seijts
Western University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Trust as a mediator of the relationship between character and perceptions of leader effectiveness during the COVID-19 crisis., Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, July 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/cbs0000214.
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