Leading With Integrity


Your reputation is what you are perceived to be; your character is what you really are.—John Wooden

In a perfect world, our reputation and our character would be the same thing…or at least similar.  I’m sure we can all agree that we’re not as great as some folks think we are and we’re not as awful as others may believe about us.  The truth, as they say, is somewhere in the middle.  But speaking in generalities, I think we’d all like our reputation and character to be aligned.

I’ve heard integrity described as who you are when no one is looking.  What will you do when you can’t take credit for it?  Will you do that thing because you know you won’t get caught?

Obviously, we all make mistakes.  That’s not what I’m talking about…I’m talking about decisions.  Let’s think about a few scenarios that could put integrity into question:

  • You’ve got a team rule that if a player misses practice, they miss the next game.  Your best player missed a practice before the conference championship.  She’s not supposed to play.  Will you play her?
  • You’ve found out some negative information about an opposing coach, will you share it with a common recruit?
  • You’re heading out of town for a conference.  Will you leave a couple of days early and charge your institution?

What you decide to do in each of these instances will reveal your character.  I believe that we owe it to our teams, in fact, I’d say it’s our responsibility to our teams to do the right thing.

John Wooden’s TEDtalk:  The difference between winning and succeeding

The John Wooden series:

John Wooden TEDtalk
Wooden’s Three Team Rules
The Pressure Of Winning
When Will You Feel Successful As A Coach?