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Here is an excerpt from Lee’s latest book, Leadership Matters. It contains 31 daily insights to inspire extraordinary results.

day 16: Integrity

Without a doubt, your personal integrity is your most prized possession. Each day, that integrity is constantly tested, and you have an opportunity to prove it or lose it with every decision you make.

Integrity is also the most fundamental leadership characteristic. Consider this: Without integrity, people will not follow you, and if you have no followers, you are not leading.

Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing – but it is always the right thing to do. Choosing to do the right thing – even when it’s painful – ensures you will maintain this most precious possession throughout your leadership journey.

The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer, meaning “whole, complete.” In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. In short, since we are always leading and our teams are always watching us, we must do what we say and say what we do.

This poem by Frank Outlaw appears on a poster in my son’s room, so I see it every day. It eloquently illustrates the need for personal integrity:

Watch your thoughts;
They become your words.
Watch your words;
They become your actions.
Watch your actions;
They become your habits.
Watch your habits;
They become your character.
Watch your character;
It becomes your destiny.

Your integrity is your greatest asset, personally and professionally. Losing it is the quickest way to halt your success. There is no gray area when it comes to integrity. Inspiring leaders control every thought, every word and every action to serve as a magnificent reflection of integrity for their teams.

Action Questions:

1. Who can I fully trust to tell me when my integrity is slipping?

2. When is the soonest I can check in with him/her?

“Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.”
– Paul Wellstone

Copyright © 2012 by Lee J. Colan and The L Group, Inc.