In its most simple translation, leadership is influence. We earn trust and respect, and others value our words and actions. However, when we make risky choices for our benefit — as opposed to that of the greater good — we risk everything if exposed. Now don’t get me wrong; there will be those who may not be aware of what is happening, but in that case, you are being deceiving. However, it is those who have come to respect you as a person and a leader that are most affected. They know the “true you” and watch a situation unfold and see the forest through the trees.
Your integrity and character are built over years of establishing your core values and non-negotiables. Those values are a result of your upbringing, experience, wisdom, influence, mentorship and education over time. Once you understand the importance of what your desire your character to be, you create your non-negotiables — those specific value traits that under no circumstance would you be willing to jeopardize.
You may have a core value of integrity, but through experience and wisdom, you focus on the traits that make up your version of your character; those things that that make up our individual values. For example, integrity to me includes honesty and fairness. But when I put it under a microscope, I add gratitude; not allowing my ego to be the enemy, and not to deceive others. That is where I draw the line with my non-negotiables.