We’ve talked a lot about leadership. Now we will turn our eye to Bill Perkins’ book, Awaken the Leader Within.
Every house must be built on some kind of foundation. Perhaps you’ve heard the parable of the two builders. When Jesus was preaching the well-known Sermon on the Mount, he wraps it up by comparing those in the audience with two builders. One built his house on the rock. The other built his on the sand.
Palestine was a rocky place situated near the Jordan River. The landscape is full of hills. Every year there is a season of heavy rain which causes the river to overflow its banks and fill up the valleys. Since there are plenty of rocks there, a builder could easily anchor his home to withstand the brutal beating a raging river could inflict upon it. If he doesn’t build on a solid foundation, his home will become mobile and mangled.
Leadership requires a solid foundation too.
What do those who follow you want most? What is their deepest hope about you?
They want you to have integrity.
Let’s admit it. We all have some integrity, but it’s quite likely we have an inflated view of how much we practice it. Integrity is like a house plant. It must be watered, cultivated, and given some light.
Watering integrity in our lives is the same as eating to make sure we stay healthy. This is practiced by intentionally spending time examining ourselves. During these times, we should put our lives under a magnifying glass to see whether we’re acting with character wherever we are. That’s what integrity means after all. It’s being whole and complete. It’s being the same kind of reason at home, school, work, or elsewhere.
When you want a plant to grow, you create conditions that will cultivate that growth. As a leader, it means you take off your mask.
We all wear some kind of mask to fit the situation we’re in. It’s as though we believe life is a big masquerade party. Part of the reason we do it is because we think if people knew the truth about us, they wouldn’t like us, or worse, they won’t follow us. We’re afraid that the other hypocrites will discover that we are. The truth is that if we’ll just take our masks off, we may still be hypocrites – but we won’t be lying about it. And if we really want to lead well, we will endeavor to deal with our own hypocrisy when we or others see it.
One thing we can all agree on is that no one likes a phony.
The surprising thing you’ll discover as you seek to live with integrity is this – peace. Yes, sweet peace. Will you be free of problems? No. But you won’t have to wear that heavy yoke of dishonesty that mask comes with. And you won’t realize just how heavy it was until you start walking through life without it.
Want to make that foundation even more solid? Be honest, and build your house on strong moral principles that stood the test of the ages. If you’ll do that, the storms of life may shake you but they won’t break you.