One sign of leadership integrity

February 19, 2018

Integrity in leadership is built on many important things. Character, values, ethics, honesty, and discernment, immediately come to mind. The list could go on. You can add to the list. If we are not careful, we can also let important things slip from the list.


     The question might be posed, “how does our integrity become apparent to others, without us simply tooting our own horn”? If we increasingly value humility in leadership (and certainly we should!) how does integrity become evident to others? There could be several signposts. Consider three important ones: listening intently instead of speaking, speaking only after reasoned consideration for others, and exhibiting patience in order to be slow to anger. There is an order to the mastering of these signposts. They are most effective in the order that they are written here. Failure to respect the order, is to invite a chain reaction leading to missed opportunity.


Listening – intentional listening is actually shifting the attention, concern, and preoccupation away from yourself and moving it squarely to the one with whom you are interacting. Listening is perhaps one of the most profound ways of making someone feel that they are important. There is another definition of intentional listening – it is being quick to hear! Hearing is like opening a door to the interpretation, and the discernment of listening. But good listening is more than hearing. Listening is inviting someone in to a deeper personal interaction, where they are more important than you.


Slow to speak – if we are quick to hear (intentional listening), it is vastly logical that we are slower to speak. In fact, it is impossible to engage both of these senses at exactly the same time. One action must prevail. Listening is the important one to take precedence at all times, and thus one must pause in one’s responses. Listening is a form of giving in the sense that the other person is prominent, exalted, and appreciated. Speaking is largely self- gratification, since we are in control, and we are gratified by the sound of our own wisdom. If we are slow to speak, we are giving and not receiving.


When we are quick to listen and slow to speak we put the brakes on a frightful emotion – losing patience and getting angry. It is difficult to be patient when one is puts speaking in greater importance over listening.


Integrity involves these three important components of interaction with others. This idea is neither new, nor is it mine. It actually was spoken by the Apostle James, when he said, “Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear (active listening, my interpretation), slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (Jas. 1:19-20).” James knew about integrity. Much of what was on his mind was what we say and how we say it.


                                                                      Copyright © 2017 Rev. Michael F. Dell, Footpath Leadership, All rights reserved.