Integrity First

DSN9164-2-MI remember hearing a silly question, “When is a door not a door?” The answer- “When it is ajar.” Get it? So my question is when is a liar not a liar? Of course the easy answer is when he is not lying.  If he has a history of lying, or even the reputation of stretching the truth from time to time, he may be telling the truth in an instance, but isn’t he still a liar? He may be telling truth right now.  But how do you know?  I guess a liar is no longer a liar when he has established himself as a person of integrity and truth.  

I caught a man in a lie, and I gave him time to confess and make corrections. But when confronted by someone else he lied, and I knew it. Again, I gave him time to set it straight. He didn’t. I finally confronted him. He apologized and said he was sorry.  Could I trust that?  He had already established himself as a person who would lie for convenience and self promotion.  How could I trust that he was sorry and would set it right?  Could I trust him to set it right, without lying about it?  He said I could trust him.  Was that a lie?  Once a person has breached trust, at what point is trust re-established?  How long does it take to grow integrity? 

Leadership is about being trustworthy. Leaders must have integrity.  If integrity is destroyed, so is the leadership.  A leader may continue to dominate, manipulate or be in front, but he/she will no longer be trusted or respected.  Respect will be replaced by resentment and destruction. 

How long does it take to grow integrity?  Leadership is built one moment at a time and on layer upon layer of honesty.  How long does it take to destroy integrity?  One slip of the tongue, a conscious straying, one moral or ethical line crossed.  It’s so much easier to maintain integrity than get it back. The leader’s first responsibility is to the truth, to maintain and build integrity.

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