We are halfway through the 14 leadership traits in our “Leader in Every Locker” Series. This week our focus is on Integrity.
Integrity is the uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles. The quality of truthfulness and honesty. The willingness to do the right thing, at the right time for the right reason, and when necessary, to have the courage to own up to mistakes, shortfalls, and omissions. A teammate’s word is his/her bond. If we are to live a life of integrity, nothing less than complete honesty in all dealings with teammates, coaches, faculty, and family is acceptable. It doesn’t mean we forget “tact,” (Week 6) nor do we abandon first principles of believing in the dignity of others, but we do or say the right thing, even when doing so may be difficult.
Integrity guides us through the choices and decisions we make when no one is watching. It is the willingness and ability to choose what is right, rather than what appears to be easy. In the classroom, it means the student will do their own work when preparing assignments and taking tests. In sports, integrity leads to fair play where one opponent does not attempt to seek an advantage over another by illegitimate means. I have a good friend who is an extraordinary leader and Marine who has risen to the rank of Major General (2 stars!). He and I both share an affinity for golf, and during an interview he was asked about golf and what he liked most? He answered, “It’s a game of integrity. You know where the ball landed and from where it must be played. You keep your own score and are asked to attest to its accuracy. Just like in life, some days are better than others, and you have to own your own performance and be true to yourself if you want to get any better.”
It’s our integrity leading us back into the store when we get to the car and realize there’s something in the shopping cart we forgot to scan in the self-checkout line. It is what causes us to remind the cashier that we gave them a ten not a twenty when we are given an incorrect amount of change in our favor. Neither the $10, nor the cost of that item in the bottom of your shopping cart are worth your integrity.
As a player, my teammates and I were frequently reminded that anything less than our best effort “was only cheating yourself.” I get the point… they were trying to encourage us to “do the right thing” by doing our best. It’s by getting ourselves in order, aligning to integrity that we are able to contribute to the good of the team. When we all exercise integrity, and do our individual best, our collective best becomes more than we ever thought possible.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!