What we do, what we say, and what we say we do all add up to integrity. You have integrity in leadership if your word is your bond: your yes is a yes and your no a no. You say what you mean and you mean what you say, and you pay the high cost of fulfilling those words.
Dwight Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in the army or in an office.”
Integrity in Leadership – Two Key Components
There are two critical components of integrity in leadership, by which we mean a deep commitment to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances. The first is the adherence to a moral or ethical principle. This isn’t simple compliance to a rule; it implies a philosophical understanding of the reason it exists. The second is the continual pursuit of a better state or condition. Everyone makes mistakes, so being a person of integrity does not mean you haven’t ever committed a moral or ethical violation. It means having the strength of character to learn from those ‘misbehaviors’ and seek continual self-improvement.
People judge integrity by the consistency, credibility and reliability of a leader’s behavior, but how do we know it when we see it? The following key points will help you to confirm your perceptions of integrity.
- Continuous personal growth. Leaders with high levels of integrity are in constant learning mode. They are exceedingly honest with themselves, and are always seeking guidance to discover and work around their blind spots.
- Keeping promises. Leaders keep their promises, and if they can’t meet the agreed-upon timeline, they will stay in communication until the promise has been kept.
- Reliability. Reliable leaders stick with problems and issues until they are resolved with a strong consideration for all stakeholders involved.
- Responsiveness. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a leader to respond to your query. Leaders of integrity are good time managers and will either respond immediately and/or will inform team members when they can get back to the issue. If the situation is a crisis, they will be there.
- Doing the right thing. Good leaders have strong moral principles. Team members can count on them do the right thing at the right time and for the right reasons. They have high personal standards and hold their team members and their corporation to the same high standards. They assess each decision and action against their organizational standards.
- Respectfulness. Respect is earned by showing respect and acceptance toward others. Respecting others means understanding different values and beliefs; recognizing, accepting and developing the skills of others; and including all employees as part of the team. It also means communicating and interacting with individuals by putting them on the same playing field.
- Accessibility. Good leaders are physically present and make themselves available and accessible to their staff. They interact with and invite employees to share their issues; they are always available to stop and listen.
- Transparency. Transparent leaders exhibit openness with respect to information, finances, and operational transactions and business dealings. They create a sense of certainty rather than uncertainty.
Lead with integrity, and you can never go wrong.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.
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