“Hey bud! If doing the right thing were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
– The General
In every seminar or speech I lead, I ask people to share the best traits of their favorite leaders. Without fail, Integrity is one of the first things they mention. There is never any argument, only the nodding of heads. We all know everyone wants a leader with Integrity. So, why is it hard to find it in our leaders and in ourselves? Because, Integrity is hard!
As my dad, The General, used to say, “Hey bud! If doing the right thing were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
Integrity is not about doing the right thing when it is convenient or it won’t create anxiety for ourselves or others. Integrity is hard because exercising it takes Courage. We can’t have Integrity without Courage. Often, acting with Integrity means someone else will not like our actions. This is where Courage is vital.
When we exercise Integrity, someone could get angry. They may not understand why we did it. This person could be a friend, a loved one or a supervisor. They might distance themselves from us or make our lives harder as a result of us acting with Integrity.
We might be tempted to ask, “What about loyalty? Isn’t that important as well?” Yes. But, is it more important than our Integrity? It is a difficult question. We wonder, “Should we be loyal to someone or a group who expects us to sacrifice our Integrity for them?” To which I have to ask, “Shouldn’t loyalty go both ways?” To add to it, are we being loyal to ourselves and who we want to be if we sacrifice our Integrity because others want us to do it?
Talking about Integrity is much easier than actually exercising it in the face of a challenge. But, this is what we all want from our leaders. We want to be able to count on them even if they might disappoint someone. When we watch them choose Integrity in those difficult moments, they inspire our trust and loyalty. That is the type of true loyalty which values Integrity instead of cheapening it.
Our Integrity will do the same thing— no matter if we are at work or at home. When those we are called to lead observe us doing what is good, right and proper—even at personal cost—we create a bond with them based on the trust and loyalty which only comes when a leader consistently exercises Integrity.
Dig Deep Questions:
Why is exercising Integrity so challenging?
What is the benefit of exercising Integrity consistently, even in the midst of the cost?
Taking responsibility and exercising Integrity is a lifelong journey for not only you, but your team. We want to partner with you as you make Integrity part of your organizational culture. When it comes to remembering the definition of Integrity, let us help to make it easy to keep it visible.
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