Integrity and Character - Leadership experts agree that character, or integrity, is foundational to business and leadership success. What people most value and admire in their leaders is honesty. Honesty in leaders is more important than vision, competence, accomplishments, and the ability to inspire others.
People choose to follow people they trust. The foundation is honesty. Integrity is credibility. The ultimate test of a leader’s credibility is whether they do what they say.
People today don’t expect their leaders to be perfect, but they do expect them to be honest. The key to integrity is honesty. People want to know you can be trusted. They want to know you will keep your promises and follow through on commitments. Promises and commitments are significant.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. Proverbs 20:7
We live in a world today where promises and commitments have become optional. We often seem more concerned with convenience and performance.
As godly men, we represent a God who makes and keeps His covenants. As godly men, we represent a God who can be trusted.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing; it’s a matter of having the right heart and allowing the person you are on the inside to match the person you are on the outside. Men today struggle between what they claim to believe and how they actually live.
I don’t have to tell you that many of us have been burned by relationships, because people have gone back on their word, claiming that they said something when they did not say it.
Today many of our children are suffering because of broken promises. We said we will do something, and we have not carried it out.
I remember several years ago I was at a conference for men to help us become better fathers. One of the speakers spoke about the fact that a broken promise can lead to a root of bitterness in the life of your children. One of the exercises he got us to do was to talk to our children and ask them, “Was there ever a time when Dad promised you something and he didn’t follow it through?” I thought, this is going to be easy! I’ve got a five-year-old and a three-year-old, I’m safe!
So I got my children together and I said, “Hey, was there ever a time when Daddy promised you something and he didn’t do it?” They said, “Yes! Daddy, there was a time you promised to take us fishing and you never did.” As soon as they said it, I knew the moment. It was true, I had said we would do this on such and such a date, but the reality was, something happened. Within a couple of days I fulfilled the promise, and we went fishing, but something was planted at that moment of a broken promise.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12
Today, men, we need to be men of integrity. Integrity means being consistent in one’s behaviour under every circumstance, including those unguarded moments.
In the book of Psalms, David writes, Declare me innocent, O Lord, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. Psalm 26:1-2
So what do I do?
Steps to maintain integrity...
- Identify one or two men who will hold me accountable.
- Get my wife and children to hold me accountable.
- Ask: How am I going as a husband, father, grandfather?
- Is there anything I’m flirting with which could destroy the destiny or call on my life? E.g. in the area of sex.
- How much of the life of Christ is seen in me - the fruit of the Spirit, living in obedience and dependence on the Holy Spirit?
- Is there anything in the darkness which needs to come into the light?
Ivan Bezzant is Pastor of Hutt City Salvation Army. Ivan is passionate about seeing men reach their potential in God and making a difference in their communities. He’s been a PK speaker and long-time supporter of PK. This article was first published by PK in 2014.