Why is integrity important in leadership?
Having honesty and integrity in the workplace is one of the most important qualities of great leadership in business and I am going to tell you why…
Whenever I hold a strategic planning session, the first value that all the executives agree on is integrity. Leaders know that honesty and integrity are the foundations of leadership. Leaders stand up for what they believe in.
Leaders with integrity may not be the most famous or flashy of leaders, and they don’t care. Integrity means doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. And that’s what makes success.
Importance of integrity in giving and keeping promises
Leaders keep their promises. They give promises carefully, even reluctantly, but once they have given that promise, they follow through on that promise without fail. And they always tell the truth.
Jack Welch calls it “candor.” He believes that if you are afraid of candor, then you don’t have the guts to be an effective leader. You are going to surround yourself with yes people who will say what you want to hear instead of saying the truth.
Leaders with integrity aren’t afraid of the truth
Leaders with integrity are not afraid to face the truth. This is called the reality principle, or “seeing the world as it really is, not as you wish it to be.”
It is perhaps the most important principle of leadership and dependent on integrity because it demands truthfulness and honesty. Many companies and organizations fail because they don’t follow the reality principle.
Integrity means telling the truth even if the truth is ugly. Better to be honest than to delude others, because then you are probably deluding yourself, too.
Leaders need to be courageous, but they also need to be open to the idea that they could be wrong. There are many leaders who eventually fail because they refuse to question their own assumptions or conclusions.
There’s a difference between being confident and blind. Let’s face it, in today’s world of rapid change, there is a possibility that you are partially wrong or even completely wrong.
Maybe you are not wrong, but just opening yourself to to that possibility is going to make you a more effective leader because it will open your mind to new ideas or new thinking.
The true mark of leadership
There should be no exceptions to honesty and integrity. Integrity is a state of mind and is not situational. If you compromise your integrity in small situations with little consequence, then it becomes very easy to compromise on the small situations.
Leaders with integrity always err on the side of fairness, especially when other people are unfair. As a matter of fact, the true mark of leadership is how fair you can be when other people are treating you unfairly.