Leadership Distinction #43: Integrity
Just who do you think you are?
Actually, a more important question, for you and for me, is who do we want to think we are. Because the Integrity of the person we want to think we are will be challenged hard by future circumstances that lie in wait.
Leaders will be confronted with situations that may afford them a personal advantage, but also one that, acted upon, would betray a personal commitment made. Leaders of organizations will be faced with a decision that would derive for their company an unfair advantage, which if known by a customer or a supplier or ally would be seen as a breakdown in trust.
To remain integral to the person we think we are, or to the organization whose espoused values we helped construct, is a leader’s never ending moral battleground. Operating just underneath the field of daily economic competition.
People use the word integrity to mean lots of different things. Perhaps the most common meaning intended is honesty. But hopefully the examples I’ve offered here reveal integrity as having a richer, life-engaged and 3-dimensional meaning than simply honesty.
It means the person we believe and want our selves to be remains whole, despite the slings and arrows that come our way. We don’t splinter off into a slew of compromised, expedient bits. And is that because people are following us? Yes, sure. But also – just because.