Happy Presidents’ Day! Last Thursday, I was having lunch with some colleagues from our colleges and universities. Since it was right after the New Hampshire primary, some of our conversation turned to the current presidential race.
Several colleagues remarked about the frontrunners in the presidential race and expressed amazement that the two non-establishment candidates, with some of the most extreme viewpoints, have the most support. Another colleague said she thought they have more support because people trust that “what you see is what you get.” Those candidates don’t seem to be hiding anything or spinning their messages to satisfy constituents. Their behavior and messages are congruent and in that sense, have integrity. Interesting thought….
For your edification, I thought I’d collect some quotes from various presidents throughout history that shine a light on the importance of integrity in leadership. Enjoy and have a terrific Presidents Day!
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington
“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.” – Martin Van Buren
“An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.” – Millard Fillmore
“My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.” – Ulysses S. Grant
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Character is the only secure foundation of the state.” – John Calvin Coolidge
“Above all, tell the truth.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime – to set an example-and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.” – William McKinley
“A splendid storehouse of integrity and freedom has been bequeathed to us by our forefathers. In this day of confusion, of peril to liberty, our high duty is to see that this storehouse is not robbed of its contents.” – Herbert Hoover
“A president’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.” – Lyndon Baines Johnson
“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” – Jimmy Carter
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” – Bill Clinton