Today is our independence day and I’ve decided to start Peak History with this post about Integrity. Of all the leadership competencies I think that this one is non-negotiable.
John Adams had a lot of integrity and lost his opportunity to become president for a second term because he chose what he thought was right for our country rather than what would make him most popular. If you would like to learn more about him you can find more information at http://bit.ly/170nN1.
During his presidency our country was very fragile. We did not have a navy and would be weakened if we went to war. Adams wanted to keep us neutral from either favoring England or France. France was in a war with England and wanted us to support them since they had helped us win our independence and we had signed an agreement to defend them in case of war. His Federalist party favored England and he was faced with a tough decision to make.
Rather than pleasing his own party, he made a decision that it was in our best interest to keep us out of war. His vision of neutrality guided him in all his decisions. The choice he made was to sacrifice the opportunity to get reelected and do what he felt was best for the long term benefit of the young United States. He sent a delegation to France to negotiate a new treaty and continued to keep friendly relations with England. There was a lot of pressure on him to take a stand, yet he refused to change his position.
A treaty was signed with France preventing an unnecessary war. He lost the opportunity to become president for a second term. Reflecting on his career he said that his greatest achievement had been the preservation of peace during his presidency.
- Have you had a situation where you had to choose integrity over self interest and got no credit from those around you?
- Have you observed someone in a leadership role choose self interest over integrity?