Writing in the HuffPost blog on July 30, contributor So-Young Kang talks about a person’s integrity, not as a philosophical concept, but as a lived reality, clarifying all the elements it takes to ‘live’ in integrity. It’s more than just practicing it; it’s making integrity what you are about. The post is worth a read.
From Ms. Kang’s post, let’s dive a little more deeply into the elements of the full definition of integrity that she so aptly calls out:
Honesty or accuracy of one’s actions
This is what we most often think of when we describe someone with integrity. It’s an intentional commitment to truth, whatever the pressures we face. It’s transparency with others about how we’re thinking and why.
But intentional honesty means attentive honesty, too, and there are times we as leaders can become ‘dishonest’ by practicing poor attention or leaving out parts of the truth:
The commitment to honesty is something that feels uncommon today, so much so that the presence of it has become a differentiator in how people judge employers, and others with whom they want to work and associate:
How do you judge your own honesty as a leader? Here’s a starting point:
Leaders of integrity can be counted on. Their actions are predictable in that they behave consistently according to clear principles. When they don’t, it creates dissonance and a loss of reputation for integrity:
Self-awareness and awareness of others
We often don’t take the time to take a look in the mirror to judge whether our integrity is still intact. A simple set of questions can make that an easy opportunity for growth:
There are also times when our mental picture of ourselves is out of synch with how others view us – a definite hit to integrity:
Wholeness is about alignment of your values with the words you speak and the actions you take. It is the surest way to demonstrate integrity. It helps cement integrity to put together a roadmap for yourself that puts into one place the beliefs and actions that will demonstrate your wholeness:
It’s equally important to be on the lookout for the subtle signs that the alignment you intend is being invaded by realities you didn’t intend:
Finally, Ms. Kang reminds us that a commitment to integrity includes a commitment to ‘a balanced and compartmentalized life’. She suggests here that leaders of integrity are able to separate feelings and actions, are able to prioritize competing commitments, and can balance commitments to work and commitments to self.
To achieve balance, it’s worth first considering the overriding things for which you want to be known:
And we leave you with a strong recommendation to think about how your nurture yourself – not just take care of yourself, but how you build your spirit:
The idea of ‘living in’ integrity is a powerful picture to hold as a leader. We invite you to go beyond exhibiting integrity, and move to it becoming the defining picture of your leadership.
Written by Marge Combe, VMC Consultant
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