“In a president, character is everything,” writes Peggy Noonan, speechwriter for both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. She continued, “A president doesn't have to be brilliant. . . he doesn't have to be clever; you can hire clever. . . You can hire pragmatic, and you can buy and bring in policy wonks. But you cannot buy courage and decency; you can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him.”
What she says of a president is true of any leader regardless of their leadership responsibilities. Leadership character is not optional; it's essential. You dare not lead without it.
If one character trait stands out above the others, it's INTEGRITY. Embrace this one and you embrace many of the others. Integrity is wholeness . . . entireness. . . completeness . . . soundness. It's what personal health is to your body, what 20/20 vision is to your eyes. Integrity has nothing to hide. It's an open book.
Psalm 78:72 says of David, “And David shepherded them (Israel) with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” That's a perfect balance for a leader. David skillfully handled situations that had no rules, no boundaries, no precedence. And in his character, he had a heart of integrity. He wasn't perfect; no leader is. But David was complete, whole, sound.
· Tells the truth every time, not just when it's convenient.
· Means what it says and says what it means.
· Is financially accountable, wise in handling money, especially another's.
· Is personally reliable; it keeps its promises. When it says, “I'll meet you at 9:00, it's 9:00 not 9:05.
· Is privately pure. No double life that causes shame and disgrace to the family if known.
“He who walks with integrity and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. . . will never be shaken.” (Psalm15)