In speaking with Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers for Burundi concerning the subject of what it means to grow a nation. It is not the political maneuvering and mere titles that affect a nation to become something better than it currently is. It all starts somewhere and it begins with leadership INTEGRITY. The integrity of leadership is the rock which a country anchors itself to. It provides stability, protection, and a hope for a better future. Interestingly, forces for change are found within leaders whose character doesn’t change. How does a nation such as Burundi experience peace between two opposing tribal factions? How are they progressing out of abject poverty. How will they continue this upward movement within their society? It does not happen automatically as a big bang theory of national success. It begins with leadership and their integrity! President Nkurunziza has championed and epitomized how influential integrity is.
When an earthquake happens you will see yellow caution tape placed around certain buildings, warning of the possible danger of collapse. The authorities will use the phrase “the integrity of this building has been compromised.” It is now to dangerous to interact with it. Integrity is measured by how much pressure the individual or thing can withstand before compromising and becoming weak which can lead to collapse.
Leadership of nations need the cooperation of the citizenry to accomplish the vision and goals it has set before them. People willingly follow when they can trust leadership. The foundation of trust is integrity. Charisma grabs the attention of people but character sustains their gaze. Ultimately they follow in agreement because of character and integrity which has produced in their heart “I trust you!” Even when they may not understand completely all of the “ins and outs” of legislation and political tools to get somewhere, but because they trust you, they will share the dream.
Integrity is not created overnight but is the result of being forged in the fires of adversity. When a person does not agree with you on a certain subject, they will respect you because of your integrity. That gives you the opportunity to be heard at all times.
Integrity is attractive. For example, when a fruit tree bears fruit it does not bring you the fruit. You are attracted to the tree. It in itself becomes a force of influence that draws people to you and your vision instead of driving them away.
Remember, a thousand right acts can be nullified by one wrong. One lie can call into question every truth I ever told. Integrity is worth every storm of temptation you have to endure to maintain the necessary influence.