“The rules I used to follow are for people who are where I used to be.” In this week’s Leadership Podcast, Andy Stanley stated this as one of the signs of weakening integrity of any leader.
Yes, integrity implies honesty, but more than that. It also indicates consistency of actions, values, methods and principles. Thus if a leader is courteous on his/her way up, we would expect them to continue to be courteous. In The Millionaire Mind, author Thomas Stanley (no relation to Andy that I know of) says the one common characteristic of decamillionaires is integrity.
And yet as people become highly successful we often see cracks begin to show in what we consider integrity to be. And interestingly, I think they are the same things we see in those are the bottom of the ladder.
Here are some signs I’ve seen recently:
- Entitlement Mentality – thinking that people owe you. Because of your position others should be willing to give you their time and resources.
- Distrust – being suspicious of the motives of those around you. The sense that others are out to get you.
- Compromised Honesty – believing that little lies won’t really matter anyway. Distorting the truth as a shortcut to objectives.
- Short Fuse – I don’t have to be kind, patient or understanding. Waitresses, hotel maids, valets, subcontractors and lawn care people need to serve me with little recognition or gratitude.
Now think about this for a minute. Don’t we see these characteristics in those who have nothing, and those who have everything? The guy who is homeless and angry about it – and the CEO who is desperately trying to protect his dynasty? Is it any more excusable at one end than the other?
Don’t lose your integrity as you become more successful. Thoughtfulness, consideration and compassion will continue to add to your positive influence in the world. One of the litmus tests I use often is to watch a person interact with the waitress at our table. Does he ignore the person taking care of our simple needs there? Does he speak curtly or with disrespect? If so, I know that is not a person I would trust in business.
No one admires a rich jackass.