Written by: Louise North, Principal
Having heard Rev B talk about Archbishop Desmond Tutu with such admiration, fondness and respect, I felt uplifted and inspired. What a great man he was, indeed, what a great leader he was. He talked about forgiveness, he said that if we want peace, we must sit down with our enemies not our friends, he encouraged goodness, kindness and compassion. He was a very fine role model. He had integrity.
One of our College values is Integrity. Sometimes people find it hard to define it but Integrity is quite simply the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or expressed another way: Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching and choosing to practise our values rather than simply professing them.
As a leader, and we are all leaders in one way or another, you must have Integrity, over and above any other quality or characteristic. Think about the people who lead you or think about the people you lead. Ask yourself why you follow them? Or similarly, ask yourself why people follow you, why they trust you? More often than not, it comes down to Integrity.
As a leader, you must practise what you preach to have any authenticity or credibility. To encourage others to follow you, you must lead with honesty and conviction because those you lead are not daft and will see through your attempts to fudge or blur the truth.
I don’t know about you, but this week seems to be-lack-of-integrity- week. We have public figures, in positions of influence and power, whose poor decision making, whose readiness to tweak the rules to suit their circumstances and fondness for massaging the truth to fit their needs, has rightly landed them in hot water.
And this is nothing to do with my political views or my enjoyment of tennis and nor is it even about making a mistake. We all make mistakes, but only those with integrity own up to them.
I expect those in positions of leadership, influence and power to set the right example but unfortunately this week is showing us very clearly how not to lead well. Integrity has flown out of the window and been replaced by lies, half lies and a twisted version of the truth that might technically not be a lie. However, as someone once said, Tell a lie once, and all your truths become questionable.
We can all learn from this poor example of leadership. Keep hold of your integrity, don’t compromise on it and you will always have the respect of those around you.