Lincoln and Churchill modeled integrity.

Hitler and Stalin showed hypocrisy.

Whether you recognize it or not, you’re a leader. You don’t control the nation, but you influence your family, your tenants, your workmates and others. You set the example.

I choose to believe that it’s a worthwhile ambition to be better, be a blessing, to add value. No mortal is perfect. Heaven knows I fall short of my aspirations. The people who I admire are those who aim to tell the truth, the people who act with integrity.

When we say a person “has integrity” or “acts with integrity,” we usually mean that he or she follows a strict moral code. Integrity also means “whole and complete.” What you see and hear is what you get.

Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing something different.  Hitler and Stalin were great villains, but it’s easy to find examples of hypocrisy from the recent past. Just before Enron collapsed, the CEO, Ken Lay urged Enron employees to hang on to their Enron stock, while he quietly sold his own. That didn’t last. Soon the world knew all about his duplicity.

“What’s whispered in the ear will be shouted from the rooftop.” (Luke 12:3) “truth will out.” (Merchant of Venice Act II scene ii) Jesus and Shakespeare disagreed with the claim that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Healthy leadership comes from our core. Your spirituality, your faith matters. As retired judge Bill McCurine says: “We do what we do because we believe what we believe.” People who perceive that they are responsible to God try to live up to the standard voiced by the prophet Micah: “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”

Leaders with integrity set the example they want others to follow. They work hard. They tell the truth. They share rewards and hardships. As John Maxwell says:

“When leaders benefit from the system apart from followers – something is wrong with the system or the leader or both.”

Are you setting an example of integrity?

Are you opposing or tolerating evil?

When you and I are gone, what examples will the people around you now cite which showed your beliefs?


Four minds deeper than mine planted most of the seeds in this blog. Ken Blanchard, John Maxwell, Bill McCurine, and Jordan Peterson.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.