by Charles R. Swindoll
Leaders with power and brains are common. So are leaders with riches and popularity. But a competent leader full of integrity and skill, coupled with sincerity, is rare indeed.
Deception creates suspicion. Once the leader's followers begin to suspect motives or find that what is said publicly is denied privately, the thin wire of respect that holds everything in place snaps. Confidence drains away. All of us have suffered disappointment and no little fear as we watched President Clinton's secret life exposed to the public in the last several years. With each revelation of lies, our respect and confidence in our leader dwindled.
The late President Dwight Eisenhower stated his opinion with dogmatism: "The supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If his associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other."
I can think of few ingredients more foundational to being a good leader than knowing oneself—and accepting oneself—and feeling secure about oneself inside one's own skin.
"The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose."
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.