In a recent survey conducted by Team Technology, a business resource firm in Great Britain, 4000 people were asked, “What qualities in a leader would make you want to follow him or her?” Of the top five answers, four of them dealt with qualities that are acquired through education or life’s experience. These include confidence, knowledge, intelligence, and ability. But the quality that stood at the top of this list was the quality of honesty.
Integrity lies at the very heart of greatness and leadership, because everything you do and everything you will ever do, revolves around who you are on the inside. And who you are on the inside is demonstrated every day by your actions, the things you do and the words you speak. Successful people, therefore, and particularly great leaders are characterized by honesty, trustworthiness, and dealing straight with every person they encounter, no matter the situation, no matter the circumstances.
Leadership is the ability to inspire other people to follow you and to march toward a well-defined destination behind you. This means that people must be “sold” on two things before they will forsake their own pursuits and get in line behind you and your dream. First, they must be “sold” on the destination. They must believe in the objective you are pursuing. And second, they must believe in you as a person. They must believe that you are the man or woman who can indeed take them to this defined destination and that you as a person are worthy of their sacrifice. They must be “sold out,” not just to the journey itself, but to the individual who will be leading them on this journey.
So pursue knowledge. Improve your abilities. Build your confidence and your intelligence. But seek integrity above all else.
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