Integrity is the foundation of trust, and you need trust to lead.
Integrity is doing what you say you’ll do. It’s being who you say you are. Integrity is not something you can have in degrees either you have it or you don’t. There is no such thing as partial integrity.
The word integrity comes from the Latin word integritā, from which we get the word integer, meaning whole. A person of integrity is not divided or fractured; they are a whole person in thought, word and action.
Integrity is something you can develop through your choices. It is something you have COMPLETE control over.
Why is it so important that a leader have integrity?
Because integrity is the foundation of trust and in order to follow someone you need to be able to trust them.
You wouldn’t work for someone if you weren’t sure they would pay you. You wouldn’t take a risk to follow a leader into a new venture unless you could trust them.
People want to follow someone with a strong vision for the future, a person paving a new and innovative path, but unless they can trust that person they aren’t moving.
If you want people to follow you, they have to trust you and if you want to build trust you will have to be a person of integrity.
Integrity can hurt sometimes. It means being true to your word regardless of the consequences.
Here are some simple ways to build integrity into your life:
1. Be on Time
As a leader the easiest way to build trust and be true to your word, is to be on time. In fact always be early. Being late will show those you lead you are not in control of your life and that you are unprepared.
2. Do what you say
Seems pretty simple. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. No excuses. At the end of the day your reputation is all you have. You want people to know you can be counted on or you won’t be asked to do anything of significance.
3. Be the same
Your character is the sum total of who you are. This includes your morals and personality. A person of integrity is being true to who you are.
As a leader when you ask someone to live to a certain standard, you must be willing to live up to that standard. Remember that those that follow you will see you as the highest standard, meaning your lowest standard might very well be their highest.
4. Fess Up
You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need to pretend like you are. When you are having a hard time and struggling, tell someone. When you aren’t true to your word confess and apologize to those you hurt.
Being a person of integrity means that you are true to who you are, not being deceptive.
Being a person of integrity and having a strong character has the benefit of protection. Proverbs 10:9 says “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out”.