Poolside on the 4th of July (in between tossing the football and taking diving lessons from my daughter Paige), I read an interesting article written by Dr. Jeff Focht, vice president for academic affairs at the community college I first attended before going on to Penn State. In his article, “at the end of the day, what really matters in leadership?” Dr. Focht relates how on a recent walk through the business section of Barnes & Nobel he noticed how he was inundated with a wide array of “keen chapter titles, eye-catching book covers and prominent leaders of credentialed business scholars”. “Equally captivating” he says, “were the newly realized leadership maxims and creeds filling the pages of the bestsellers”.
Given this wealth of information and advice, Dr. Focht asks, “Have the leadership principles really changed that much overtime?” and he tells that his mentor once told him, “At the end of the day, what matters most in leadership is your integrity.”
It made me feel good to read this particular article on July 4th, such an important day in the history of my country, while spending time with the most important people in my life – my wife and daughters -because,
I believe that Dr. Focht got it exactly right:
“What does integrity require of us? Integrity asks that we value the contributions of each and every individual in an organization as often as we can, for all people matter. It demands that we are honest with ourselves and others in all situations. It requires authenticity in the most challenging circumstances. It calls for a delicate balance between high expectations of self and others with a high threshold for forgiveness. It insists that we serve others in the greatest capacity possible while keeping our pride in check, since power is merely loaned to us as leaders and requires great responsibility. It wills our priorities to be in order and the wisdom to realign them when we lose focus. It expects competency in our job duties. It beckons us to embrace the deep purpose within our lives and to empower others to seek their own potential. Ultimately, when a leader practices integrity daily, it’s amazing how most things fall into place”.
Hope everyone had some time off this week and Happy Birthday America!