Do you have Integrity?
Integrity is defined as, “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
In research on leadership, integrity is consistently rated as one of the most important character traits of a respected leader. It is often considered a ‘given’ – the basis upon which all other leadership traits are built. After all, if you cannot count on a leader to consistently conduct himself or herself with high ethical standards, and with honesty, how can you trust them?
Dwight D. 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 is behaving in a consistently principled manner no matter who is watching.
Integrity is holding oneself to a high ethical standard because it is the right thing to do. Integrity is intrinsically motivated. It is self-imposed. If someone requires an extrinsic motivation to lead and live with integrity, then they don’t have integrity.
Leaders with integrity consistently conduct themselves with high ethical standards regardless of who is watching. If no one is watching them they behave the same as if everyone was watching. Leaders with integrity don’t try to see what they can get away with.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” CS Lewis
Success without integrity really isn’t success at all. Those with integrity keep their word, even when it hurts. Integrity is making values-based decisions, not decisions based on personal gain. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but those with integrity admit their mistakes and do what they can to right the wrong.
Leaders with integrity are more concerned about their character than their reputation. Your reputation is merely who others think you are, but character is who you really are.
Integrity is paramount for good leadership – it’s a given.