Integrity: The Foundation of Leadership

Leadership built on integrityMany years ago, when my children were small, I dropped my daughter off at a home-based preschool and as I backed out of the driveway, I backed right into the preschool teacher’s truck.  I got out and assessed the damage.  No damage to my van.  But, there was a foot-long dent in the teacher’s truck, definitely more than $500 in damage.   Ouch. Nobody saw me do it.  If I had simply left, and hadn’t said a word, no one would have known that it was my fault.     Would it have been so bad, just this once?   I pondered, should I say something or shouldn’t I?

I realized it was a question of integrity.

Do you remember, back in geometry class, what you call 2 triangles that have the same shape and size?

Congruent Triangles.

Imagine 2 congruent triangles, one labeled VALUES and the other BEHAVIOR.

When our behavior is congruent with our values, we have integrity.  We do what is right and in accordance with our values even when no one is watching, that is, in private.   In public, it is also when our “Walk” is congruent with our “Talk.”  If we don’t “walk the talk” we are hypocrites.  Being hypocritical is a quick way to lose influence with others.

After I hit the preschool teacher’s car.  I had a choice.  If I had simply left, my behavior would not have been in line with my values.  I valued honesty.  I valued taking responsibility for one’s actions. So, I rang the doorbell, delivered the news and paid for the damage.  Cost about $600.  Intact Integrity, priceless.

As you lead, is your leadership built on the firm foundation of integrity?  Do you walk the talk?


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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