Integrity and Leaders

Essay by keviluv4playCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2003

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What is integrity in a sense of leadership? The New Revised Edition of Webster's Dictionary has a simple definition: honest character. Integrity comes from the Latin word integer, meaning whole number. The concept of wholeness comes from one's own personal decisions and morals. Specific characteristics of integrity consist of truthful, principled, fair, faithful, consistent, open, trustworthy, and whole. One who possesses these values is also generally accepted as ethical and honest. These principles are required of people who intend to be strong leaders. They must have a proper perspective on integrity and understand its importance in daily life.

To Christian leaders integrity is "a strict coherence to a code or standard of values; honesty and moral soundness-especially as it is revealed in dealings that test steadfastness in truth, purpose, responsibility, and trust (Kazenske, 2001)". It usually requires a consistency with biblical principles as well, including the Ten Commandments. Even though religious leaders have been advocating this for years, it is doubtful that even they could provide a true model of integrity.

Integrity is a characteristic most people work their entire life to accomplish. It is hard to keep such high morals and standards; even the nations' leaders can't do it all the time. "Voters want a leader with integrity too", says the title of the November 7th, 1999, issue of USA Today. People are tired of being lied to! They are fed up with politicians saying one thing, and then doing another. Isn't it time for a nation with some honest action in the world? The influential politicians of the country are supposed to be demonstrating the characteristics that it takes to be a good leader, but often times are not.

Consistency is one of the most important elements of integrity. Decisions should not be based on the occurring situation,