5 Signs You Lack Integrity

If you’re keeping secrets, you lack integrity, and you’re heading for a fall.

Between my wife, elders, close friends and counselor, I have an inner circle that knows everything about me. (By the way, if you’re afraid to give your password on your computer or phone to anyone in that circle, you’re hiding things.)

4. You fail to do what you said you were going to do.

This isn’t just about keeping promises; it’s about keeping your word in everything. Better to say nothing and surprise someone by delivering than blurt out an intention you can’t fulfill.

Ultimately, people lose confidence in you when you fail to deliver. It’s a trust issue.

A fairly easy way to address this is to say less and deliver more. A great follow-up system also helps (sometimes a lack of integrity isn’t even a moral issue — just an awareness and organization issue).

5. You make too many compromises.

Leadership is not about getting everyone to like you or about finding the easiest path. It’s about discerning the best way forward. It’s about getting people to go where they wouldn’t go if it wasn’t for leadership.

If you make too many decisional compromises, or even a handful of personal compromises, your effectiveness will be — you guessed it — compromised.

Don’t just think of these things as character flaws, think of what’s at stake: When the crises hit (and they will), if you lack integrity you won’t be left standing. Simple as that. When you attend to these things, your integrity grows, and so does your ability to live and lead through difficult times.

Fortunately, if you lack integrity it can be rebuilt. In a separate post, I outline five ways to build your integrity.


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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.