• Teresa Bennett

Leading With Integrity

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Integrity is the most important leadership attribute. Ultimately, we want to work with people who are ethical.

If you know your leader acts with integrity, then you know they will not only do what is right for the business, but they will do right by you as well. Leaders with integrity improve businesses.

When companies have ethical leadership teams it’s easier to attract customers, investors, and professionals to work with and for you.

Leaders need to recognize the importance of their decisions, words, and actions. How they contribute to the culture and values of the company is important, and it’s a way to display their integrity.

Some experts believe that leadership is built from three pillars of trustworthiness and of those, integrity is one. To lead, you need followers and that requires trust. There is no trust without kindness, ability, and integrity.

We judge our leaders on competence and the content of their character. Within character, falls integrity. Your integrity will let your co-workers know whether you are a friend or a foe. Integrity is associated with good intentions and kindness.

Many leaders claim to value integrity, but is it legit or are they just seizing buzz words? Ask yourself, what is integrity, what does it really mean? Do the actions of leaders match the words they are saying? If you are in a leadership role, are your words and actions congruent?

Leaders are role models, and if they don’t actively display their expectations through their actions, then others in the organization won’t follow suit.

Practical Ways to Display Integrity

  • Treat others well and act honestly at all times

  • Be quick to praise the contributions of others

  • Hold yourself accountable to your employees, your peers, and your own leader(s)

  • Treat everyone kindly and be fair in everything that you do, no matter whom you are dealing with

Do you do as you tell others to do? If you set a meeting for 9 am, do you arrive on time? Part of displaying integrity is honoring your commitments and showing others that you respect their time. You should always take your schedule (and deadlines) seriously. Just because people may not question you when you arrive late, doesn’t mean that you should hold yourself to a different standard. Every behavior you display is an example, are yours good or bad?

Leadership is stressful and it’s easy to crack under pressure. How you act and speak when you’re under pressure says a lot about you. During stressful periods your behavior is magnified, everyone around you sees it and it’s your opportunity to set an example on integrity and stress management.

Don’t underestimate how powerful your actions are at displaying your integrity. Think about the words you use and the actions you choose to follow through with. Do they align or do you have more work to do?

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