The Character of a Leader – Integrity
Integrity is the quality most needed to succeed.
Integrity commits itself:
- to character over personal gain
- to people over things
- to service over power
- to principle over convenience
- to the long view over the immediate.
INTEGRITY IS AN INSIDE JOB
(1) Integrity is not determined by circumstances
Your circumstances are as responsible for your character as a mirror is for your looks. What you see only reflects what you are. Message: You are responsible for your choices!
(2) Integrity is not based on credentials
➢ it is based on character
➢ Earlier in this lesson I mentioned that God is more concerned with character than He is with credentials.
In the old days, brick makers, engravers and others who built things used a symbol to mark the things they created to show that they were the makers. The symbol that each one used was his “character”. The value of the work was determined by the amount of skill with which the object was made. Only if the quality of work was high was the “character” esteemed or respected. In other words, the quality of the person and his work gave value to his credentials. If the work was good, so was the character. If it was bad, then the character was looked upon as being poor. The same is true today. Character comes from who we are. Some people would like to be judged not by who they are, but by the titles they have earned or the position they hold, even though their character stinks! They want to influence others as a result of their credentials instead of by the strength of their character!
➢ No number of titles, degrees, offices, awards, licenses, or other credentials can take the place of basic, honest integrity! It’s integrity, not simply position that influences others.
(3) Integrity is not to be confused with reputation
William Hersey Davis describes the difference between character and reputation in the following way:
The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation…
the truth you believe determines your character….
Reputation is what you are suppose to be;
character is what you are….
Reputation is the photograph;
character is the face….
Reputation comes over one from without;
character grows up from within….
Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community;
character is what you have when you go away.
Your reputation is made in a moment;
your character is built in a lifetime….
Your reputation is learned in an hour;
your character does not come to light for a year….
Reputation grows like a mushroom;
character lasts like eternity….
Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor;
character makes you happy or makes you miserable….
Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone;
character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God.
If you want to become a person of integrity, who will effectively lead (influence) others, you need to develop and follow this list of qualities every day of your life:
1. Model consistency of character.
2. Use honest communication.
3. Value transparency.
Whether you want people to find out your weaknesses or not, they will eventually find them so don’t try to hide them. Be honest with people about your weaknesses. They will appreciate your honesty and integrity and will be able to relate to you better; realizing that you’re not perfect either.
4. Demonstrate humility.
People will not trust you if they see you are controlled by jealousy or the belief that you are better than they are.
5. Demonstrate your support of others.
Nothing develops or displays your character better than your desire to put others first.
6. Fulfill your commitments.
Never make promises you do not intend to keep and when you say you’ll do something, do it. The fastest way to break trust with others is to not fulfill your commitments.
7. Embrace an attitude of service.
We have been put on this earth to serve, not to be served. Missionary-physician Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell believed “the service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth.” People of integrity are givers, not takers.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Leading is something we all do. Everyone individual has some kind of leadership role, although our influence and the number of observer-followers may be different for all of us. Everybody affects somebody! No man is an island to himself.
“We would worry a lot less about what people thought of us
if we realized how seldom they do.”
The character of a true leader requires an answer to a call that sounds from the highest source and shapes him in the deepest, most personal corners of his soul. “Success” at these levels – at the highest and deepest – will only be realized as a leader commits to an inner accountability to faithfully, constantly and honestly answer one question: Am I maintaining “integrity of heart”?
Many succeed momentarily by what they know;
Some succeed temporarily by what they do; but
Few succeed permanently by what they are.
The road of integrity may not be the easiest one, but it is the only one that will get you where you need to go with no regrets or feelings of guilt.
Become a person of integrity:
1. Commit yourself to honesty, reliability, and confidentiality
2. Decide ahead of time that you don’t have a price
3. Major in the minor things
4. Each day, do what you should do before you do the things you want to do
As one man once said, “integrity is worth whatever it costs you to develop it.” I leave you with this question, “Will you be a man of integrity?” The choice is yours!
by Nick Sisco