Leadership is not about gaining followers. It is about influencing the followers you already have, but leadership goes deeper than that as well. Leading with integrity is the key to lasting influence.
History reveals the fact that some leaders should have never had followers in the first place. Why? Because, at their core, those leaders were tyrants. They were the worst examples of humanity, yet they still managed to influence their followers; in some cases, millions of people.
When you follow a strict definition of leadership, these people technically were leaders because they had a following. However, leadership does not begin with a following.
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Leadership starts before your following even exists, and if you don’t make the right decisions during your leadership infancy, you may never make it out of the nest.
The art and skill of leadership start at the core of who you are. Leadership is born from your innermost being. Ultimately it derives from your personal integrity or lack thereof. The person you are when no one is looking is the best indicator regarding what sort of leader you will be when people are.
- Are you lazy and lethargic when no one is looking or diligent?
- Are you motivated by greed and need when no one sees or are you honest?
- Do you cut corners, find a faster way, or skip the hard stuff when no one is looking or do you make up your mind to be resilient and resolute even when it seems not to matter?
The fact is, who you are deep inside always matters as it relates to your leadership ability. If you want to know the best time to grow your personal integrity so that it affects your leadership for good, the best time is when no one is looking.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The time to grow your #integrity so that it affects your #leadership is when no one is looking.” quote=”The time to grow your integrity so that it affects your leadership is when no one is looking.” theme=”style3″]
Now, it can be hard to keep up the pace, make the right moves, and cut no corners when no one seems to care. Indeed, life would prove easier if you didn’t have to worry about leading with integrity, right? In the short-term, maybe. However, in the long-term view of your leadership, integrity matters most.
Integrity is the essential quality that keeps some leaders from imploding on the job. Their inner strength of character directs their decisions toward the good of others instead of filling their own pockets or succumbing to their vices.
Start working on your integrity now, even if no one sees, and you can be a leader who positively impacts the world around you. That is the essence of leading with integrity.
Four ways to start leading with integrity when no one is looking and why you should:
1. Make someone look…be accountable.
One thing that leaders tend to shy away from is accountability, but leading with integrity demands it. We have our vision, plan, or dream and we don’t see the need to submit our thoughts to anyone else. This notion, however, is riddled with landmines. The lack of accountability in your life will eventually be your greatest liability. When it seems like no one is looking, find at least one person who will look. Ask someone. Be proactive and seek out accountability, and you will never regret that you did.
2. Do the hard things now.
It’s not that leadership gets any easier, because it doesn’t. Doing the hard things first is a character building process that increases your integrity. Learn to instill a work ethic into yourself now, while no one seems to notice, and that ethic will be there when the temptation arises to “delegate” all the hard work to your followers, employees, volunteers, etc.
3. Work on excellence now.
Be a person who takes pride in their work. The world doesn’t need more half-hearted leaders. You may not feel like the best leader right now because it seems no one is watching, and that’s a good thing. Use this time to build into your life. Work on constructing in yourself, the qualities you most admire in other great leaders. Make the best use of your day by doing everything you do in a manner that you won’t be ashamed of later.
4. Stick to your commitments even if no one notices.
This one is simple, if you cannot keep your promises when you have only yourself or a handful of followers, then you won’t keep commitments when you have a thousand followers. Leading with integrity means, committing yourself to making a difference in other people. You must want to see your followers thrive. This quality begins with a firm commitment to yourself. So if you have a blog, be committed to a schedule whether you have a handful of readers or a thousand. If you have a job, show up and work hard, whether your superiors seem to care or not. If you have a leadership call on your life, commit to develop it even if there are no opportunities for you at the moment.
Growing into a person of integrity is the most beneficial pursuit you can have if you want to be a great leader and influence people for their good. These four ideas are part of the foundational core of leading with integrity. Will you pursue them?
Question: What steps are you taking to grow your integrity?
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