How do you know if a person has integrity? These are people who are honest, kind, fair minded, and generous. A characteristic of a great leader is their integrity. Maria Razumich-Zec once said, “Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions”. Webster says that the definition of integrity is the ability to adhere to moral and ethical principles.
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. This is a manifestation of cowardice and dishonesty and very unbecoming of a leader. A leader without courage and integrity does not gain the respect of their followers. In such a case, leadership has lost its essence. There is no true leadership without responsibility.
Another quality of integrity is true virtue and true virtue 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. You can always search in Google to find the meaning and criteria of "integrity" and you will read its definition. 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. Lastly, decisions may fail, but true leadership admits that mistake and makes means to recover. True leadership knows the humility to admit mistakes, the integrity to take responsibility and the courage to move on. The journey in being a great leader starts with acquiring integrity first.