I recently, but fleetingly heard a joke made by the late, great British comedian Tony Hancock who, to broadly paraphrase his line, stated: “The most important thing that an audience wants from an artist is sincerity, so if you can fake that, your made!”
Sometimes leaders can be tempted to think that sincerity and its bigger sibling, integrity are something that you can manufacture. Nothing could be further from the truth – the unassailable truism of Hancock’s joke is that if you manufacture sincerity (or integrity) you have by definition destroyed it – and everything that goes with it – credibility, trust, partnership, commitment…the list goes on.
There are no quick fixes to building integrity – it starts from within oneself and is expressed in what you say and what you do. It affects your interactions with others. It can be difficult and requires commitment. It is repeated every day and is self-reinforcing. You cannot paste it onto the outside like wallpaper!
Coppin, A. and Barratt, J. (2002) Timeless Management, Palgrave MacMillan, NY.
Covey, S. (1989) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Simon & Shuster, New York, NY.