The Six Pillars of Character


Whether at work, at home, or at play, there are basic values that define ethical behavior. These values are not political, religious, or culturally biased. Josephson Institute calls them the Six Pillars of Character, and they form the basis of all Institute programs and materials.

Read more: (This page is also available in Spanish.) Our book Making Ethical Decisions, reprinted in part here, includes a more detailed discussion of the Six Pillars. In his blog What Will Matter, Josephson Institute president Michael Josephson invokes the Six Pillars to answer the question, What Is Character?. Do you work with young people? See the Six Pillars page on CharacterCounts.org.

Trustworthiness

Build trust and credibility with integrity (consistency between beliefs, words and actions), honesty (truthfulness, sincerity and candor), promise-keeping, and loyalty (fidelity to family, friends, and country).

Respect

Honor the worth and dignity of all individuals. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Act courteously, civilly, peaceably, and nonviolently. Be tolerant and accepting of differences. Avoid rude, offensive, and abusive words and actions.

Responsibility

Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes. Exercise self-control. Strive for excellence and self-improvement. Plan ahead. Set a good example for others. Be self-reliant, prudent, proactive, persistent, and hard-working.

Fairness

Be consistent, open, and treat all people equitably. Consider all sides and make decisions on the facts without favoritism or prejudice. Play by the rules, avoid careless accusations, and donít take undue advantage of others. Pursue justice and condemn injustice.

Caring

Be kind, compassionate, empathetic, charitable, forgiving, and grateful.

Citizenship

Obey laws in good faith. Do your share to improve the well-being of fellow citizens and the community. Protect the environment, volunteer, and participate in the processes of democracy by staying informed and voting.


Making Ethical Decisions BookletAll Josephson Institute materials use the Six Pillars common language. To help promote these shared values in your workplace or community, consider displaying Six-Pillar posters and banners and distributing Making Ethical Decisions booklets along with Six-Pillar awareness products.