Mastering The Inner Game Of Integrity by Susan Mazza #bealeader special guest
Your integrity will define you…and it will define your leadership.
It could be easy to read that statement to mean I am talking only about the assessments of others regarding your integrity. Of course, the consistency with which you are perceived to “walk your talk” is essential if you want to lead anyone, as is the perception of your authenticity.
Yet I suggest the most important person for you to be in integrity with is first and foremost yourself.
Leading others begins with leading yourself. Your integrity is fundamental to your leadership because it is the foundation for your words, actions and choices. You could say it is the definition of what character – your character – means to you.
This foundation is not something that can be defined for you or given to you by others. You must design and build that foundation for yourself. While your personal history and culture have most certainly shaped your values and beliefs, the moment you commit to being a leader it does not matter where they came from – what matters is that you can authentically claim them as your own. Consider that the alternative is to lead your life in an endless quest to live up to someone else’s standards and be at the mercy of other people’s judgments, which is certainly not a very strong foundation for your self-esteem, let alone your leadership.
“At its most based level, personal integrity is about being true to our personal beliefs, values and principles. It is the source of our personal power and our credibility in the world. By “true” I mean “a constant and loyal adherence to” as opposed to a moral judgment that ascribes right and wrong.”
–Susan Mazza, The Character Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution…One Person at a Time
Mastering the inner game of integrity begins with consciously defining your Personal Code of Ethics. This is the term I use to represent your distinct declaration of your personal beliefs, values and principles. Declared or not, it’s the context from which you lead yourself and others. We all have one whether we have consciously clarified it for ourselves or not.
If you are human you will also make mistakes. At times you may even make poor choices as measured against your Personal Code of Ethics. There may be times when you will be inauthentic. Those moments of inauthenticity may even be motivated by good intentions like trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. Keep in mind that your missteps are not a permanent indictment that you lack integrity. Integrity is an aspiration. Consistency and mindfulness matter far more than perfection. And you cannot be right with the world until you are right with yourself.
Mastering the inner game of integrity is as much about living consistently with your Personal Code of Ethics in thought, word and deed as it is about what you do when you see have erred. The mastering part comes from how you deal with your missteps. To do that you first need to be crystal clear about what you value and believe. And you must be committed to consistently doing the work to keep truing your course.
The moment you speak up, step up or stand up as a leader in any capacity others will likely make judgments about you for better or for worse. That is one of the reasons I believe it can takes so much courage to be a leader. Before you allow others to judge your integrity it is so important to be clear and conscious about the context for your words, actions and choices. That is the surest way to ensure you remain consistently in integrity with yourself.
Here are the questions for this week’s #bealeader chat:
1. How do you define integrity?
2. What are the principles and/or beliefs you live by that define what integrity means for you personally?
3. What specific values drive your decisions in life and leadership?
4. How do you know someone else is acting with integrity?
5. How do you know you are acting with integrity?
6. What can you do when you realize you have done something that is out of integrity?
Believing that you don’t have to be THE leader to be A leader, Susan Mazza writes and speaks about the power of everyday leadership. She is a Co-Author of The Character Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution One Person at a Time, as well as the Author of the Random Acts of Leadership blog. With a commitment to unleashing the human spirit at work, Susan has been a leadership coach, motivational speaker and business consultant for over 25 years.
Special Giveway – #bealeader Chat
Susan Mazza has graciously offered to give a special gift at our #bealeader chat on Twitter this Thursday, October 4th 7pmET. Click here to find how you can win this gift.