Saturday, March 22, 2014
Three Qualities of Integrity
The first characteristic of a great leader is their integrity. Webster says that the definition of integrity is the ability to adhere to moral and ethical principles. People who have integrity are honest, kind, fair minded, and generous. Integrity encompasses many qualities, and one of them is accountability or taking responsibility for one's actions. The lack or personal accountability is a major pitfall of leadership. A leader who does not take responsibility for their actions and decisions is bound to fail. Without personal accountability, a person has the tendency to play the blame game. Whatever the consequences of their decisions are, particularly their mistakes, they blame on others. A leader admits when they make a mistake. True leadership knows the humility to admit mistakes, the integrity to take responsibility and the courage to move on.
A second quality of integrity is true virtue which comes from within. It is instilled by time, experience and understanding. If you know virtue and you have it in you, you will know it in other people. If you yourself are a person of integrity, or are searching for integrity in yourself, your inner knowing and your intuition will give you the understanding to know the virtue from the pretense. Virtue as a part of our true humanity will speak to the true humanity in others. Otherwise, if virtue has been subdued and clouded by negativity, you cannot see its light or feel its voice. Leaders who have gained success pay attention to the inner voice that provides their moral compass, and they learn to guide their conduct according to the virtues and principals that flow from their moral identities.
The third quality of integrity is honesty. This means to do what you know in your heart is right. Sometimes being truly honest means giving up something you want in exchange for doing the right thing. Leadership means being your own person and when you earn a reputation for integrity, values and honesty, you’re likely to be a respected leader. I have a saying that goes like this. "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today. A leader without courage and integrity does not gain the respect of their followers. In such a case, leadership has lost its essence. The journey in being a great leader starts with acquiring integrity first.