how is my “wake”?

I have been reading Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity, and evaluating the integrity of my leadership.  Here is a quick preview of the first two chapters of the book…

Cloud starts off summarizing some important requisites for success in this world:

  1. Have a set of Competencies – I need to be good at something…or various somethings… I will need to learn and have abilities to offer to my family, my job, my world.
  2. Be an Alliance Builder – Leaders who are successful understand the importance of creating and building relationships and partnerships…making a bigger impact through mutually beneficial alliances.

As important as these two points are, Cloud writes that the most important element to successful leadership is Integrity – which he defines as the ability to meet the demands of reality.

He also defines integrity as “having the character to not screw up” – saying:

who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains, talents, competencies, energy, effort, deal-making abilities, and opportunities will succeed.

… so integrity is more than just not lying or not stealing…

Henry Cloud challenged me to evaluate my integrity by looking at the “wake” I leave behind me (like a boat leaves a wake behind as it moves through the water).

The wake has two parts: task and relationship, basically what do I accomplish and how do I deal with people in the process?

These are some of the questions he suggested that I am using for evaluating how I am doing in my integrity:

  • TASK: Are goals being reached?  Is there growth/progress in the organization or in my home? Is our mission being accomplished?  Are tasks getting completed? Are new ways of doing things being introduced and perfected?  Is there a stronger reputation for the work and the ministry? Do we have better systems and processes? Cleaner operations? Are profits being made, finances being raised? Is my house in order, my kids learning new things?

…Or does my task wake look like: un-reached goals, disorganization, chaos, inactivity, loss of focus, resources and money loss?

Performance and results tell us a lot about a person.  Results matter!

  • PEOPLE: Are people more trusting after working with me?  Are they more fulfilled as people? Have they grown as a result of associating with me?  Do they feel that I encouraged them?  Did they learn from me?  Are they inspired to be more and do more?
…Or does my wake leave people: wounded, hurting, manipulated, angry, feeling put down, devalued, unappreciated and inferior?  
And the key question:  Would they do it again?
Being in transition right now is a great time for me to look back at my wake and see how I’ve done… I have to admit, it is a bit scary to honestly consider where my lack of character or integrity may have negatively affected my results and/or my relationships… at work and at home…
On the other hand, it is worth doing since, as Henry Cloud says:
“All of us can always change and be better.”  
I am asking God help me grow in my integrity.  How about you?  

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