“According to 1,300 senior executives interviewed, integrity is the human quality most necessary to business success.”- John Maxwell, Leadership Expert
What is integrity?
- Integrity is the state of being complete and unified.
- When you are in integrity, your words, actions and deeds align.
The benefit? Integrity creates ‘clean energy’ or congruence between people, which is one of the fundamental aspects of creating trust with others. Do your thoughts, words, and actions match up? In the absence of alignment, most people will sense a feeling of unease with you at some level and begin to ‘move away’ from following you, which is the opposite of what you want as a leader.
Most people will not be totally aware of this dynamic, they will only know ‘they do not feel comfortable, relaxed and totally at ease around you for some reason and that there is something missing between you both. For those that may be aware of their being uncomfortable around you, they will usually elect not to tell you because, “How do you bring something like this up to someone?” Instead, they will walk away from you and away from your leadership.
A leader is aware that followers watch the leader’s every move. A leader with integrity does not have divided loyalties or live with hypocrisy. They are whole and single-minded. They know where they stand and they are ‘clean’ with their actions as opposed to confusing which would be saying one thing and doing another.
A person lacking integrity says “Everyone has value,” yet fails to try and understand why they may not ‘click’ with another member of the management team or fails in her attempt to have a conversation with them; they continue to pull back and in fact tell others of this person’s shortcomings or failures.
A person lacking integrity says “gossip is wrong”, yet actively listens to gossip and does not stop the gossip cycle.
Critical Leadership Principles
What are the advantages of demonstrating integrity?
- Builds trust even if you have tough news to share with others
- Facilitates high standards of communication conduct
- You are living in alignment and not sacrificing your values
What are the ways you can demonstrate integrity as a leader?
- Do something because it is the right thing to do. It may not be the most popular thing, but it is the right thing. Ask, ‘what is best for the company right now?’
- Pick one characteristic of integrity, such as honesty. Make this characteristic non-negotiable in your life. Example: I will always have honest relationships and find a way to communicate honesty to others based on what is right. Try one characteristic and master that, then move onto another characteristic.
- Be you. Let other people see you exactly for who you are, sharing your shortfalls, challenges and struggles as opposed to giving the impression ‘everything is okay’.
- Make choices that are right for others, even if another choice would make you look better, or protect you from rejection.
- When you catch yourself being dishonest, come clean with others. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
- Ask other people what areas of your life they see as inconsistent. Work on these areas by journaling and raising your consciousness about the issue.
- Share one oddity or quirk about yourself with others to show them the “real you.” This often allows others to do the same.
Oddly, we think followership comes from being the most perfect leader. Sometimes we create followership by just being congruent and real about who we are, what we are doing and where we are. These leadership principles are the essence of being authentic and the cornerstone of integrity.
To learn more about how you can improve integrity and organizational effectiveness in your company, visit Vantage Path.