While many can see the external connection between what you say and what you do, there is another level of integrity. It’s the integration between your motives and the things you say and do. Most will never know your motives unless you reveal them. Yet motivational integrity is integrity at the deepest level. This is a high calling and a great checkpoint for a leader, a virtuous leader. Great leaders conceal nothing and are readily willing to share their motives so that others can know the deepest level of their integrity. Purely motivated leaders make powerful leaders. Just consider this: Do you trust a leader whose motives are always in question?
They welcome accountability
A leader that finds accountability laborious or resists legitimate feedback might have a gap in their integrity. On the other hand, a person who leads with integrity invites accountability and feedback. They have a disposition for accountability to ensure they don’t lose ground with others, and even use accountability for their personal improvement.
They spend time with people of character
You are not only known by the people you keep company with, but they shape you. If you desire integrity in your work and personal life, then you must spend time with people of integrity so you can learn from them. Your company of friends and colleagues will either strengthen you or lead you to make compromises of character. Since character is more “caught than taught,” you must always invest your time with people of the highest character; they will always make you better.
They practice integrity when no one’s looking
What people see of your life is often like the tip of an iceberg. Much of life is hidden from the view of others, but the leader with integrity makes the same decisions in private that they do in public. That is because deep-level integrity requires consistency everywhere—especially under the surface. These unseen decisions are the tell-tale sign of a truly integrated life.
Mentors—Who Influenced Your Life?
There are leaders you admire and turn to for wisdom––they influence your life and leadership. Take some time to reflect on mentors who have shaped your life. See if you can list the truths they have passed onto you that are continuing to mold your life. These might be clues to your values. (Also, it might also be interesting to name a few leaders you don’t admire or don’t want to emulate as a way of discovering the values you don’t hold.)
Deep Convictions—What has convicted you?
Every great leader has deep convictions that drive them. They wish to provide access to education or clean water, to protect life, to mend a social injustice, or to provide mentorship. That powerful conviction, whatever it may be, has the power to shape a positive future for yourself and others. It turns fear to faith, uncertainty to hope, and apathy to action for those around you. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in fighting for civil rights and equality as a Christian and activist because of his deep convictions, and his convictions carried him into leadership history. Consider your deep convictions and how they might be beneficial to the world.
What is needed in today’s world are more leaders who live in line with their values. Be a leader of value by living out your values. Once you can name and identify your personal values, you can lead with confidence and conviction.
This article is an excerpt from the book, 20 Lessons That Build A Leader. Vince Miller is the founder of Resolute, a non-profit organization focused on providing men with tools for discipleship and mentorship. He’s written over 13 books.