Today I am starting out on a series that will run over the next 10 days and I am inviting you to follow consistently as we look together into the all important topic of leadership and some basic skills needed to be outstanding. People have talked about leadership from different point of views but my focus here will not be to try and define leadership or even to disagree with anyone on their opinion of leadership but to show us some vital skills or call it habits that leaders must have before you can call them leaders!
The first on my list is integrity and I also think that it is the most important thing any leader must have in order to lead other people successfully! It is not that I have decided to do a ranking for all the skills I am going to talk about but we definite cannot rule out the fact that integrity cuts across everything and every skill you will ever have in life. When you are using all those other skills that you have and there is no integrity people will be able to tell that you do not have integrity and you will begin to lose your power or influence as a leader! Sometimes some people who are in leadership positions lose their leadership power or influence because they lost their integrity. In some cases the reason they even lost their integrity is because they wanted to retain their power and influence so they either started lying or did not even open up to those they were leading.
I think it is a myth to think that you will always lose your power if you tell your followers the truth! I remember very well the case of President Bill Clinton being involved in a sex scandal. All through the days when he denied his involvement he began to lose support gradually even though the people had loved him so much. Somewhere along the line something different happened. He came out to publicly admit that he was involved in the scandal. Although there was the move for an impeachment but it was the people who said they still want him as their leader regardless of what had happened!
As a leader you must understand that it is possible for things to go wrong either because you did not see it coming or maybe because you did not plan well enough for it. You can brace up at that point and let the people know that you did not see it coming or that the plan did not cater for what went wrong but you should never think that you will sustain your respect by lying to your followers! Sometimes some of them would have seen what went wrong and some may have even known beforehand that something was going to go wrong! You have to be open as a leader you have to be straightforward as a leader.
I think you can use the following as the check for your integrity:
1. Am I open to the people I am leading or is there something I am hiding from them?
2. Have I told them lies before and will they have any reason to doubt me again?
3. Is there something I said I would do that I never did even when there was no reason to have left it undone?
4. Am I the person they think I am or am I a different character?
5. Do I say what I mean and mean what I say?
Sometimes things can be a bit tough but your ability to stick to your words, honour agreements, say things the way they are and say what you mean will make the people still respect you inspite of what has happened! Even if everything is going to crash on you as the leader, you still cannot afford to lose your integrity. Don’t tell people you will give them the money you don’t have and don’t tell them you don’t have the money that you are hiding somewhere. As a leader, you have to realize that if you will be successful then deceit is not in any way one of your options! I think that people may not like a leader for several other things but if people will dislike you it should not be for reasons of integrity!
Integrity is key and it will be a very important tool for you to excel in any other thing as a leader! Start working very hard on your integrity and sustain it all through!
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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