Integrity: 2 Levels & 3 Marks For Leaders
"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office." Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out." Proverbs 10:9
The most influential leaders are those who have integrated their inner and outer lives so that they reflect one another. There is no dichotomy between who a leader is and how they behave. This integration is a lifelong pursuit that is gained slowly and lost suddenly - and so it's a tenacious pursuit. When our motivations and thoughts, and thoughts and statements, and statements and actions match, we have integrity (integration). Here are two levels of integrity and three marks of a person who has it.
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Level One | Congruent Statements and Actions
People can smell hypocrisy from a mile away. But leaders who do as they say with consistency make it easy for others to believe them because they can predict the likely behavior. Also, they know what actions are acceptable and unacceptable.
Level Two | Motives Are Congruent with Statements & Actions
While many can see the external connection between what we say and what we do, there is another level of integrity. It's the integration between your motives and the things you say and do. While most will never know our motives, God does. And he evaluates our motivation at the deepest level. This is a high calling for a follower but also a checkpoint for a great leader. Great leaders hide nothing and are readily willing to share their motives so that others can see the deepest level of integration. Purely motivated leaders make great leaders. Just consider this question: Do you trust a leader whose motives are always in question?
Mark One | They Welcome Accountability
A person who leads with integrity welcomes accountability. However, leaders that find accountability laborious or resist legitimate feedback might have a known or unknown gap in their integrity. A person who values integrity has a disposition for accountability to ensure they don't lose integrity and even uses accountability for personal advancement.
Mark Two | They Spend Time With People Of Character
We are not only known by the people we keep company with, but they shape us. If we desire integrity in our work and personal lives, then we will spend time with people of integrity so that we can learn from them. Our company of friends and colleagues will either strengthen us or compromise us at the character level. Since character is more caught than taught, we must always invest out time with people of the highest character, because they will ever make us better.
Mark Three | They Practice Integrity When No One's Looking
What people see of our lives is often like the tip of an iceberg. Much of life is hidden from the view of others, but the leader with integrity makes the same the decisions in private that they do in public. That is because deep level integrity requires consistency - everywhere, especially under the surface. These unseen decisions are the tell-tale sign of a truly integrated life.
Take a few moments and give yourself a grade from 1 to 10 on how you are doing in each of these levels and markers. Based on your self-evaluation, what do you want to change or do to live a more integrated life?
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.