(Subtitle 1: Nine signs of an integrated life)
(Subtitle 2: Nine things to look for in a prospective leader)
(Subtitle 3: Why you love your representative but hate Congress)
Year in and year out, it’s the number one answer to what people want in their leaders, regardless of the arena. It’s more important than technical competence, talent, or even being nice. “It” is integrity.
In election years integrity is rolled out as the reason you should hire Candidate A over Candidate B. And yet who hasn’t shuddered at the extremes to which people in the high-profile political, business or ministry realm are examined for any cracks in their moral foundation or skeletons in their closets?
Hardly a season passes where we aren’t wagging our heads at another icon of power being exposed; Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino is the latest, but hardly the last. Soon we’ll be hearing some new cautionary tale about how someone laden with talent and brains lost their moral compass in the magnetic field of leadership power.
Hey, I get it. Both sides of it. I understand why integrity is so vital from a follower’s perspective, and so elusive from a leader’s perspective. I’ve also learned the hard way how difficult it can be to restore once you’ve lost it.
But it’s important to go beyond buzzwords and stop crowing about hypocrisy. When we’re talking about integrity, what, exactly, are we looking for? When you are about to select a leader in the making, what evidence are you looking for that he or she is a person of integrity? Or when your integrity has, um, “hit the ditch” (sorry, Coach), where do you start rebuilding it?
Here’s a place to start. Here are nine signs of an integrated life. No one lives this perfectly. But people who value integrity in their lives and leadership will be pointed in this direction: [click to continue…]