Integrity is one of the most important character qualities to develop in your personal life. For leaders, it is vital, as it is part of the foundation of all credibility and influence. Integrity means that there is an integration between who we really are (when no one is looking) and who we appear to be to others. Other similar concepts to integrity are ... honesty, truthfulness, and authenticity.
How do you develop personal integrity? Here are a few suggestions:
- Value integrity. Unless you place a high value on this quality you will be unlikely to pay the price to develop it and preserve it over the long haul.
- Establish personal boundaries between what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, and then stay as far away from the edge as possible. Don't see how close you can get to the edge. That's like a deep sea diver seeing how long they can last on a tank of oxygen.
- Sweat the small things. Jesus said that faithfulness in small matters is the foundation of faithfulness in large matters. In the same way, dishonesty in small matters often leads the way to dishonesty in large matters. Tell the truth, don't exaggerate, pay for personal expenses at the office, don't cheat on your taxes, etc, etc.
- Adopt an early warning system. Significant loss of integrity is never a fall, it is more often a gradual slide. Take decisive action early ... before it's too late.
- Repent quickly. Admit it when you are wrong, ask forgiveness, stop doing the wrong thing.
- Ask others to help you. I have a number of people outside of my world who I meet with regularly who are able to ask me any question they want about anything in my life. Accountability is important.
- Ask God to help you. The human heart is prone to self-deception (see Jeremiah 17:9). Ask God to search you and show you any crooked way in your life (see King David's prayer in Psalm 139:23-24).
Integrity - it's well worth the effort!