We’re beginning an eight part series on Integrity, so it might be important to define Integrity. Merriam Webster defines it in two ways – (1) a firm adherence to a moral code and (2) a state of being complete or undivided. In our society, we have a term – two faced. He was two faced – told me one thing and then did another. Two faced is the complete opposite of integrity – doing what you say you will do. Jesus was never two faced. He lived his life as a role model of being complete and of adhering to God’s standards. We are called to do the same.
I didn’t marry you to have you gone when I wake up and crashed on the couch after supper. Those words served as a danger bell tolling in my marriage. While I said that my values were faith, family and career in that order, I wasn’t living those values. I was two faced. For a long time, I had put my career ahead of my first two values. With my husband’s words ringing in my ears, I had to make a choice – to do what I said I would do. He had challenged me to have integrity.
God issues the same challenge to us in His Word. In 1 Kings 8 & 9, Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and he had prayed to God to confirm his promise to David and to hear the pleas of the people. God responded in I Kings 9:4,5 – And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
He called Solomon – and He calls us – to lead with integrity of heart – to love Him – the Lord our God with undivided hearts, with undivided souls, with undivided minds. “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” (Matthew 12:25) Anything less than integrity of heart is two-faced. *originally written for LLJ blog(www.LeadLikeJesus.com)
What does integrity of heart look like ?
Setting for the Sermon on the Mount
As I mentioned in my last blog, one of my favorite thought leaders is Dan Webster. Dan has a workbook called The Real Deal – Becoming More Authentic and Life and Leadership. I’ve lead teams through it and done it personally 3 times over a twelve year period. It has had a deep and profound effect on how I lead and who I am. One of my favorite thoughts from Dan is this one:
“Am I impacting people because they admire my leadership savvy and skills or are they impacted by my character and the beauty of my soul?”
When I first read that question, it had a huge impact on me – making me think and reflect on whether I had substituted image for character and integrity. While I certainly want my teaching, coaching and consulting to have an impact, I realize that I want my character and integrity to be at the forefront. I want the larger impact of my life to be because I truly loved and respected others, valuing the dignity of all – because I lived, loved and Lead Like Jesus.
The press conference of Rep. Weiner was painful to listen to. His heartfelt apology made it clear he was taking responsibility for the actions he has admitted to taking. Unfortunately, his choice of words left much to be desired as he called his actions a mistake. As he continued to talk, it became clear to me he either didn’t know the difference between a mistake and a poor choice – or he’d chosen to use the word ‘mistake” to make his actions sound less serious.
Do you know the difference between a mistake and a poor choice? A mistake is an error, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. We make a mistake when we don’t have enough information to do right. A poor choice occurs when we have enough information to know what not to do(or should know) and do it anyway. While we need to take responsibility for both mistakes and poor choices, there’s a lot more impact on our character as the result of a poor choice.
|Bad math on my tax return
||Choosing not to report income
|Misunderstand what you said
||Choosing to ignore what you said
|Stepping wrong off the curb
||Ignoring the walk signal
||Posting a lewd picture on Twitter
||Taking funds from my employer
||Slamming someone on Facebook
Many years ago I chose to call in sick instead of teaching a class. It was a very poor choice and I learned a hard lesson. I had made a poor choice and I paid a price. But I also learned something about integrity.
How would you define a poor choice ?
One of my favorite thought leaders is Dan Webster. Dan was at the forefront of leadership authenticity – long before Lencioni or Maxwell got in the game. Two of his thoughts have resonated with me over the last 12 years and they keep popping back up in my mind just when I need them. In this blog, I’ll address the first one.
“The absence of quiet in a man or woman’s life slowly leads to a state of soul insanity.”
That one sentence is filled with such truth. On the days when I skip my morning quiet time, the day just doesn’t go as well. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over, and gradually I’m becoming better about not letting something take its place. When I fail to slow down, I lose touch with who I am and I lose the ability to resonate with others. As a result, I lose my ability to influence – to lead.
Research has shown that when we are under stress we default to a leadership style that is dissonant – resulting in a lack of trust, burn out, anger and frustration among those we lead. Slowing down – keeping our soul sanity – helps us be resonant leaders who are known for collaboration, trust, empathy and the ethical use of power.
If we want to lead others, we must first lead ourselves. It’s a matter of integrity.