I am one of many on this blog that take leadership and its quality’s to heart. It is with a firm conviction I feel that we as leaders need to address the foundational issues that have eroded over the years. Pointing out a few of those foundational building blocks in past articles has given way to the newest virtue of leadership.
A sleepless night had me in its grip, and the theme of Leadership qualities and traits was heavy on my heart. God had my attention; and He was showing me how critical the virtue — Integrity, is to the foundation of who we are. Integrity is an essentially building block upon which all our lives are built. It is essentially the building block for which all other attributes of Leadership rests.
Examining the definition of integrity we expose more clues to a nearly forgotten virtue— so nearly forgotten that it is one of the least used words in society today.
- possession of firm principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards
- completeness: the state of being complete or undivided
- wholeness: the state of being sound or undamaged
(Courtesy the Bing Dictionary)
To really understand the true concept of these definitions means we have to unpack each of them to discover some important truths that lie within.
- First, “possession of firm principles”. What is this and what does it look like in real everyday life? What are the foundational principles on which you navigate and negotiate each day?
- Second, “what is the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards”? What does this look like in your “circle of influence”? Steadfastly adhering to a principle or moral standard means that we are unshakeable in our core beliefs.
- Third, do you have a sense of “completeness: the state of being complete or undivided”, within that circle? Or is there something missing? Do you wrestle daily with the thought that there is something missing in your leadership skill set?
- Fourth, is the foundation upon which your Integrity rest filled with “wholeness: the state of being sound or undamaged”?
Where does the real foundation for possessing firm principles originate? I believe it necessary to first start by understanding that for me… I am but just a small dot on a line in the spectrum of time in relation to God. If “a thousand years is as one day with the Lord” (2 Peter 3:8), what does the small allotment of time in which I have been blessed to share His Leadership Virtues with all look like? Will I step up to sound the alarm over the lack of leadership qualities or will I shudder at the challenge and turn tail and run? I am like many baby boomers my age; we have been looking back at the chapters of our lives in the rear view mirror, both inside the church and outside wondering where our leadership values have gone. How have we become so complacent about leadership values? I know the realm in which I worked it was easy to sweep things under the rug and only deal with them if they became a “big” issue. This wasn’t just on the local management level but went up the chain. When people such as this are put in leadership positions and given a level of authority over you it sets the stage for some very poor leadership opportunities by them!
Discovering what God says about integrity will help shed some light on what that foundational value may look like. It will also help us to glean some insight into what the next pages or chapters in our story of life should look like.
Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
Proverbs 2:6-8 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
When questioning the legitimacy of God’s word we can easily reference the great theologian John Wesley’s insight. He states;
“This book (the Bible) had to be written by one of three people: good men, bad men or God. It couldn’t have been written by good men because they said it was inspired by the revelation of God. Good men don’t lie and deceive. It couldn’t have been written by bad men because bad men would not write something that would condemn themselves. It leaves only one conclusion. It was given by divine inspiration of God.”
Integrity is an action word that requires us to go against the grain of what society teaches. One does not have to look far today to see how divided or damaged our integrity compass really is.
Two of my favorite authors, pastors, and teachers offer some very insightful words regarding integrity.
“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just Cracker Jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”
“Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up.”
Integrity requires us to stand as Abraham did, Moses did, and as Jesus our Savior did.
I have a great friend here in Laramie who has a wonderful quote about his work that I believe could easily apply to our lives as lived for Christ.
“When you work speaks for itself…don’t interrupt”!
When your walk and talk match those of Christ…be still and let others see His good works!