Leaders who live and lead with integrity choose what is right over what is fun, fast, and easy. They have consistency of moral character, honest, and trustworthiness in their actions, methods, principles, expectations, and outcomes. They are true to their word and model a deep commitment to do what they say they will do.
Bill George, author of Discover Your True North, elevates the importance of leader integrity by calling it “the foundation of all efforts of leaders to lead in the best fashion.” Kouzes and Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, reveal 35 years of survey results from leaders around the globe who responded to the question, “What characteristics do you admire most in a leader?” More than any other leadership characteristic, a leader’s honesty, which aligns with integrity, is selected as the most important leadership trait. Tony Simmons, in Integrity Dividend, stated, “Integrity is the predominant characteristic that touches every aspect of your business and yields a significant financial dividend.”
Learning to lead with integrity requires developing a heightened level of self-awareness, adhering to a strict moral code, and communicating openly and truthfully with team members, regardless of the complexity of a situation or the possibility of negative consequences.
Strategies for Living and Leading with Integrity:
Examine your moral principles. What do you perceive as right and wrong? And, why?
Assess the degree you adhere to your moral code, including your actions, thoughts, words, and behaviors. Are they aligned to your beliefs?
Establish a code of values and behaviors with your team. How can your team “operationalize” a set of standards, behaviors, and guidelines to assure they are aligned to the team’s shared values?
View the Tedx Talk, Simplifying Humility and Integrity, by Joe Sabini, discussing how integrity, humility, and hypocrisy are related to each other so we can reflect on how to align our actions with our beliefs.