It was a chillin’ kind of day. I lit a fire, snuggled up in a comfy chair with a good book and put on some of my favourite tunes.
In the book I am reading, the protagonist is a CEO of a large company. He is ambitious, charismatic, hard-working and smart – all admirable qualities in business. He’s an attractive guy, quite likeable and as the reader, I find myself quietly admiring him. But, as I arrive on page 126, there is an interesting twist in the story. He’s a liar. He’s selling a product that doesn’t exist. He’s duping investors and stealing their money.
My mind drifted back to the leadership program in which I was currently engaged.
Before I sat down to read, I had just finished a couple exercises in my Corporate Champions Program “Leaders Playbook”. We are currently working on a trait called EXEMPLIFY EXCELLENCE. This trait explores how you can inspire excellence in others by setting a good example. It was a beneficial exercise to help me better understand that as a manager, how I conduct myself, can either positively or negatively influence and motivate others.
I closed my book and thought about our current political leaders. Just that night, there were mixed stories of how world leaders represented themselves – some demonstrating the trustworthiness, integrity and respectful behaviour we expect, and some, much like the character in my book, were liars and manipulators. Which role-models will we choose to inspire us? How will we inspire others?
The character in my book had all sorts of great qualities, but he was missing the most vital – integrity. This principle should be a base on which all other traits are developed.
If we are to be a shining light for others, we must have integrity. The word “integrity” is defined as the “quality of being honest and principled.” Assuming a leadership role is a privilege and honour. You assume this role only because of others and you have a great responsibility to them.
I got out of my chair to put another log on the fire as the words and melody of Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” filled the room. I sang along,
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change…”
How appropriate! Time for some self-reflection…