Can You Respect the Person in the Mirror?

I recently read a quote from Abraham Lincoln in which he stated his intention to conduct his administration in a manner such that, when it ended, he could like and respect the man he saw in the mirror.  This determination to do what is right is one of the hallmarks of a great leader.

Weak leaders and weaker followers do what is easy, what is expedient, that which is popular.  They are willing to compromise their ethics, their values, and their own sense of right and wrong simply to maintain their position.  They will go along to get along with no thought as to whether their actions will benefit or harm others.  In the end, they lose the respect of those who follow them and have no respect for themselves.

Strong leaders, on the other hand, know what they stand for and recognize an inviolate code of conduct that governs all that they do.  While they acknowledge the value of compromise when working for the common good, they also adhere to moral precepts that cannot be sacrificed without harming the world around them.  For these leaders, there is the proverbial “line in the sand” which cannot be crossed; principles that cannot be violated.

These leaders uphold their personal integrity so that, on any given day, they can look in the mirror and like the person that they see and respect the person that they are.

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