Integrity and Leadership

Leaders in the news -- often the stories are of leaders who have fallen from grace due to some questionable decisions and actions.  So do we have leaders with integrity?  Do we know?  Why is it important?

Integrity is in maintaining high standards of honesty and ethics at all times and living our core values.  As General Schwarzkopf says, “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it.”

People with integrity act above reproach; they do what is right, even if it is not personally rewarding.  They build trust through reliability and authenticity.  They admit their own mistakes, and are willing and able to confront unethical behavior in others. They keep their word and treat all people fairly.

When a leader lacks integrity, they don’t have a clear definition of their own opinions and what is right.  They may do what is expedient rather than what is right.  They are unwilling to challenge the way things are done, even if the established way goes against their personal values. And they tend to be influenced by others or reactive to the moment.

So, you can see why we need integrity in our leaders.  We need to expect and demand it.  And we need to live it in ourselves to grow our own leadership potential.  How, you ask?

– Be clear on your core values and principles, and keep them visible to you on a daily basis.

– Be very honest and ask yourself how often your behavior is consistent with your values.  Mostly?  Always?  Rarely?

– Ask yourself what you need to do differently to live more truly to, and in integrity with, your core values and beliefs.

How has your own integrity shaped your decisions and your life choices?