As we begin looking at a Leadership Trait each week we are starting off with INTEGRITY. It seems appropriate as it encompasses so many of the traits we will be looking at in the coming weeks. What do I mean? Lets check it out.
While most people look at integrity and define it as the quality of absolute honesty, truthfulness and uprightness of character and moral principles, this is a definition is inspiring and challenging I believe it is off the mark. Do not get me wrong, it is accurate but for only one of the definitions that apply to the word.
I prefer to highlight this from a different angle. If you look it up integrity also means “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.”
When you look at integrity this way and apply it to your life it encompasses way more than just truthfulness and honesty. It now encompasses all of life. In every way are you whole?
Lets look at these three terms a little closer: whole, entire, and undiminished
- Whole. This means that you are full, no gaps. When you look at your life, inside and out, there can’t be anything missing. In every aspect you would be whole. Think about it this way, it is not just being honesty but without honesty you are not whole. It is not all about working hard when no one is around, but without a strong work ethic you would not be whole. Something would be lacking. To be whole, to have integrity, means that you are complete and not lacking.
- Entire. Again this focuses on having every element needed. If you have courage but lack wisdom, you have no more integrity then the guy who is an enthusiastic but selfish friend.
- Undiminished. While the first two look at integrity from the positive perspective of not lacking anything, this seems to show the reality of the other side. It may be grim but the truth is that you are diminished. When you lack integrity there are cracks, weak spots that can break. The integrity of a leader needs to have the same solid foundation as it would for a high-rise building. If you have a crack now then it must be fixed before you move on toward adding skills to sharpen your influence.
Lacking integrity is much more than not being honest. When it comes down to it, integrity means that you are lacking nothing, your foundation is secure. You are ready to be built upon that foundation anything you are desire.
You want to build a foundation that will last. If a storm comes and the structure crumbles you can rebuild it but if your foundation causes the mess it can be unrecoverable.
What are you lacking? What is the crack in your foundation? Your attention must be focused here so that the foundation does not break and cause devastation because you lack integrity. Will your foundation last? What can you do to ensure your foundation is laid correctly? In what ways can you keep your integrity intact?
It can sting to answer questions like this honestly but the profit will far outweigh it. And remember the profit is directly correlated to the brutality of your honesty with yourself.