Leadership is Integrity

25 Jun

Leadership is defined many ways by many different people. John Maxwell, for example, in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, defines leadership as “influence.” That’s a good definition. People may not define leadership as “integrity,” but I think that we can all agree that a good leader needs to have it.

Pat Croce puts it like this: “You have to walk the talk.” Anyone can talk a good game, but it takes a real leader to be able to back up what he says with action. In order to lead, you must possess integrity in your actions. Like Croce says, walk the talk.

We have a sad example in the news about a govenor who lacks integrity in his actions. I’m talking about South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who has recently admitted having an affair with a women in Argentina.

The affair is between him, his wife, and God. I’m not here concerned with the affair, although that also shows a lack of integrity. No, what I’m concerned with here is the fact that this man abandoned his state to have this affair.

No one in a leadership position should ever just up and leave his post, no matter what. Would you want your followers to do that? What if your drive-thru person suddenly had an errand to run that was more important than work? Should she just leave her post and go run the errand?

The bottom line is this: if you don’t want your followers to do something, then avoid the behavior yourself. Don’t be a Mark Sanford and leave your post, leaving your people to fend for themselves. Stay in your post, let your people know that they can trust you will be there.

That’s integrity, and that’s part of leadership.

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