Becoming a Leader with Integrity


Mike CarinoMichael Cariño, IGSL faculty

As I studied philosophy a few years ago, one of the writings that made a strong impact in my life is Plato’s The Republic. In that writing, five hundred years before Christ, Plato was trying to introduce a question. What does a good person look like? And he introduced that question in a very powerful story called The Ring of Gyges.

It is a story about a shepherd who found a magical ring. The ring had the power of invisibility. Whoever possesses the ring becomes invisible to everyone by twisting the ring on one’s finger. This shepherd lived all his life as a good man, he lived with integrity, he was honest, and he was compassionate and kind. But one day he had possession of that magical ring. He became invisible. For the very first time in his life, nobody can see him. As the story goes, this good shepherd who lived with integrity, killed the king, took the crown, and became king. He ruled the nation in tyranny.

In this story, Plato confronts his readers and asks, “Will a good person still be good when nobody sees him?” This is a question of integrity.

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“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”- C.S. Lewis

For Christian leaders like us, there is no other path to greatness, to excellence, to transformative leadership without this virtue of INTEGRITY.

What does it mean to become a leader with integrity?

Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” It implies that if you walk with integrity, you will have a peaceful life, people trust you, and you are reliable. Psalms 41:12 “Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.” It says that if you live with integrity, you will find favor with God, and you’re blessed by God. Proverbs 11:3 “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” In other words, we’ll flourish in life if we go to the right direction, and the right direction is to live a life of integrity.

So what is Integrity? Integrity is essentially living with consistency in actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. Integrity is regarded as honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

A person with integrity is someone who is reflective and real. He receives correction for his mistakes, recognizes his need for improvement, revises his beliefs in light of evidences, and recruits other to walk in integrity.

The key word to integrity is consistency. This means you are the same person wherever you are and in whatever situation you are in. Consistency is a choice that we make as leaders every single day in good or bad, and in joyful or painful situations. That is integrity.

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