Our outrage has no meaning and no power if we are not holding ourselves to a higher standard than the people we claim to be outraged by.
Maybe you have read about our “outrage culture.” Everyone is outraged about something. You can see it on television or on social media or even over coffee with friends. Outrage permeates our society these days more than ever. There are a lot of topics people choose to be outraged about. But, one of our society’s favorites past times is to declare outrage over the lack of Integrity of our leaders.
And why not? It is hard to trust these people when we can see video proof of them saying one thing and then doing another. Or when someone finds old footage of a speech where that person supported something that today they vilify somebody else for supporting. Or when we can look-up a website that points out the multiple lies a leader makes in a speech.
We all want a leader of Integrity. We want to follow someone we can trust. To get our trust, a leader has to maintain their Integrity. When they don’t – we become outraged!
Hello pot! I would like to introduce you to kettle.
That’s right. What about us? Do we deserve any of the outrage we direct towards our leaders? If we pause and stop being outraged by others, we might recognize our own hypocrisy. The power in our society will be realized when we stop looking at everyone else to change, and begin changing ourselves. Let’s look in the mirror. When we do, we will see much of the things we are outraged about in our leaders played out in all of us.
● When we Republicans are outraged by the lies of a Democrat – but not by the lies of another Republican.
● When we Democrats are outraged by the lies of a Republican – but not by the lies of another Democrat.
● When we support an idea we were always against, because it is now to our advantage to support it.
● When our private words and behaviors do not match our public declarations.
Do we jump to claim credit but deflect blame to somebody or something else? Do we lie? Do we cut corners? Do we make lame excuses for our choices?
Our society needs men and women who will exercise Integrity. It would be great if our leaders would lead the way and set the example, but they do not. I agree – that is outrageous.
But are we setting a different type of example for the people around us? The hypocrisy I demonstrate when I get outraged about a leader on television does just as much to damage trust with those I am called to lead. I am holding another leader to a standard I am not upholding myself. Why should those people trust me?
The people I work with deserve better than to have to deal with another hypocrite. But more importantly, the people I live with don’t deserve a hypocritical leader either. Our spouses and our kids see who we are. When we talk to the TV about our leaders, they know whether we are exercising Integrity ourselves.
How would we answer our kids if they held up a video of our past speeches at home and compare them to footage of how we actually behaved?
The change of character in our society is not going to come at a national level. It is going to come at the grassroots – from OUR homes and from OUR workplaces. Our outrage has no meaning and no power if we are not holding ourselves to a higher standard than the people we claim to be outraged by.
We can’t control the Integrity of the leaders we see in the news. But we can control our own Integrity. And that is the way we will actually get the results we wish to see in our world.
Dig Deep Questions:
● How can you set a better example for those around you?
● Who is someone you can emulate and encourage others to do the same?
Making a shift towards taking responsibility and living with Integrity is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Integrity daily, which is why we have created our Habits of Character Action Guides.
The Integrity Action Guide offers you a month of daily, interactive training complete with a daily reading, dig deep questions, weekly processing guides and instructions on how to use the guide both individually and with your team. The Integrity Action Guide is now available here.
We are behind you, championing for you, your teams and your organizations as you become the leader you wish you had. We want to come alongside you as you grow to confidently answer “yes” to the question, “Would you follow you?”