Personal Honesty and Integrity
We all agree about the need for honesty, right? We want truthfulness and veracity in our associations and dealings. Where it starts and is actually most important is in being honest with ourselves about our abilities, capacity, and calling. When we don’t it wreaks havoc in our personal lives. We end up trying to be someone one that most likely we were never meant to be. We add unneeded stress to our lives and to the lives of the people we attempt to lead. We have to know who we are, what we have been given, and with assurance and confidence, live to the fullest who we are and what we are meant to do.We need to be true to ourselves. Every single person has a most significant job title and responsibility that comes before anyone you will ever get in a company. It is “Chief Integrity Officer” for the business that is YOU! What a great position, and so necessary to fill adequately.To do that, every leader needs to ask, “Am I being honest with myself?” As your leadership journey continues, the demands and the needs of the business or the organization impacts your leadership style. Developing your own leadership style that fits your own beliefs, strengths and personality is critical to being truly effective. Do we need to learn from others? Yes—from many others, never becoming a clone of just one person. You may find your own leadership style through humbly experiencing trial and error, but finding it is critical to truly being effective. Without a good fit of your leadership style, your position requirements, and the organizational needs, before you know it, you experience burnout –you become just worn out. That is the core reason people have so many different experiences in the same position. Some find a given position energizing and fulfilling, exciting and ever enriching, and another person, just as intelligent and hardworking, will find the same position to be overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating. If your abilities, capacity, and calling are not a true fit for the place you are spending your life, you will experience an overload of tension with others, chaos in fulfillment of your tasks, and personal frustration. It won’t have anything to do with intelligence or effort. It will be about fit.When opportunities present themselves (and they will—the better you are at what you do, the more opportunities you will be offered ), will you have the knowledge and the courage to be your true Self and ask yourself, “Does this truly fit who I am? Or am I just flattered at the prospect?”Every time you assume a new position, you also are assuming a new set of expectations, pressures, and responsibilities. Unless you are invited to a new position in a new start-up situation or are in a position that is brand new, you must have a better than average skill set for that position. It is irresponsible to allow the organization to stall or go backwards while you try to catch up with skills the last leader had that were necessary for the job.You have to deal with yourself in complete honesty, not overestimating or overestimating yourself. Paul said,“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3You can get insight and observations from other people, but YOU have to be able to be the ultimate “Chief Integrity Officer.” Some people will unintentionally mislead you because of their personal affection for you, or their personal bias against something in you. Some people will just want to fill a position and get the responsibility passed on. Sometimes, you will be selected because of popularity. All of those things will lead to personal angst and organizational chaos. Being able to have a true honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses is huge in the leadership world.Being your own Chief Integrity is challenging because of personal insecurities. Insecurity stinks. Literally. When we are insecure, we repel rather than attract others. Insecure leaders find themselves indecisive, unclear, hesitant and afraid. When addressing this issue, some people get defensive and suggest that we are all insecure and seem hopeless that we can do anything about it. Others remain blind and reject any possibility that they are insecure, thus demonstrating their insecurity.Inauthenticity (lack of personal honesty) is the root of insecurity. Inauthenticity births insecurity and results in mistrust. When you are trying to fill shoes that do not fit you, you are trying to be someone you are not, others will not trust you. Remember Bob in the WHAT ABOUT BOB? comedy? Bob, played exquisitely by Bill Murray, was that annoying friend no one could effectively deal with who eventually drove his boss over the edge. Bob’s problem was that he was “TRYING to be a friend, TRYING to fill shoes that were not his. Whenever we “TRY” to be something, we are manufacturing energy and will inevitably produce a false self. This stresses us and everyone around us.An important character quality for any leader who wants to make a significant impact and leave a positive legacy is security. Yet, look at the job profiles for your dream job online. Do you see any place that lists personal security as a must-have desired quality? Secure leaders know who they are and what God has made them to do. They understand their strengths and weaknesses and are comfortable with both. Secure leaders feel less pressure to perform, less pressure to please people, and less pressure to prove their worth by their accomplishments than insecure leaders do. They are less concerned about authority, because they just “have it” in their situation. Secure leaders have an ease about them and a lack of grasping and “trying” that engenders confidence among their followers. Secure leaders attract other strong leaders to work with them because they are not afraid to share the work and the rewards.Many leaders are over achievers, rooted in deep insecurity. Insecurity, for many of us, is rooted in the psychological and emotional scars incurred during childhood. Many Christian leaders, including many high performance leaders, come from broken or dysfunctional families. Much could be written about the causes of insecurity, including these and others. But for our purposes, analyzing the causes is not essential. Just get help. J Insecurity affects most of us in one way or another. No matter how gifted we are, none of us are exempt. As the Chief Integrity Officer of our own lives, we have to own our own insecurities. We owe it to ourselves and others to n=make sure our insecurities do not drive our leadership or cause us to look for security in accomplishment and relationships. It will not end well, and will cause us to steward the abilities, capacity, and calling we do have poorly.