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Lead with Integrity: Education, Experience and Relationships

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Ethics Matters

July/August 2019

Reflecting on my professional journey, I was reminded about the variety of lessons I have learned, impacting my career and life. Some lessons came from formal education opportunities, others from experiences, and more from relationships. My belief is that these three platforms have provided me with tremendous exposures that are helping me continue to grow as a leader. Today, I am sharing my thoughts on each to encourage you on your journey.

Education is critical for our development as ethical leaders, and it can come in many ways. Education includes formal courses we take for credit or certification, or they can be less formal workshops taken in class or online. This type of education is important because it often gives the technical learning we need. It also helps us be disciplined. Formal education with a graduation or certification at the end of the process usually requires us to exercise discipline to complete the process. I am confident that my formal education experiences gave me understanding of the parameters and the discipline to get things done.

Experience compliments education and it is often how we learn best. On many occasions, I have gone into situations and had to make decisions about new circumstances. In fact, experience is ongoing training. I have now learned that my experience trumps my knowledge in almost every case. I am best when I operate in areas where I have experience that I can use along with my education. The greatest thing about experience is that when we are open, we grow from our positive and negative experiences. As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.”

Relationships are very important in the development of an ethical leader. I can attribute a significant amount of success on my journey to relationships established along the way. Through relationships, we gain mentorship from other leaders. We can also establish meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals who can lead us to opportunities to grow, personally and professionally. My relationships are so important to me because I learn from watching others, and I use my relationships to teach others from my experiences.

Education sets the tone and is a guide for ethical leaders. Experience provides invaluable, broad and flexible training for ethical leaders. Relationships allow ethical leaders to save time by learning from the successes and failures of others.

All three have been instrumental for me, and I hope you reflect on these to help you Lead with Integrity.