Leadership Integrity: it’s holistic

Leadership Integrity: it’s holistic


It’s always prowling outside our door.

Lying and corruption have crept around since the beginning of time. Every company, large and small, can experience lapses in integrity. Leaders and managers may become perplexed in doing the proper thing. The allurement to falsify is constantly present. When dishonest conduct is discovered, it’s typically too late, executives are accused, embarrassed and removed. It costs money to rebuild and regain trust, more than that, it destroys lives and promising careers.

Because we are human, temptations continue to challenge our integrity.

Severe consequences and large fines don’t deter corruption. Even when corporate ethic manuals are read and taught, people continue to compromise themselves for the dollar, power, ultimate control, and a self seeking reputation. The quote, “where your treasure is, your heart is also” holds true today

Integrity is first illustrated from grounded leadership – which most employees respect. Authentic leaders stay committed in the pressurized whirlwind. They hold firm to time-tested ethics and morals and enjoy healthier outcomes for the organization. Leadership integrity moves in the right direction using objective facts for wise decision making.  Leaders with integrity set up accountability with other leaders they trust and respect. They seek out people having strengths of “responsibility”, “focus”, “deliberative”, or “belief” to offer them wise counsel. To effectively model integrity, they welcome staff to openly communicate their struggles without retaliation.

Integrity is holistic – from the mind, to the heart and then it flows through to the actual work. The platform of honor comes from the core mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state of a person. It is founded upon personal conviction and values. When our culture shifts and views core ethics as simply relative; integrity becomes a blur and fundamental standards for conduct, befit an “anything goes” mentality.

Long ago in sales, I realized that integrity became a situational moving target. I had to continually remind my sales reps what “white-lies” and “scaling the dishonesty fence” looked like in detail. Unprincipled thinking often moves from the presumed little norm, “everyone does it” morphing to bigger schemes. Manipulation, falsifying information, omitting data and unwisely raising fees was not tolerated.  It was a discussion I had frequently. 

Behavioral dimensions of integrity encompass honest communication, setting realistic expectations, treating others respectfully, genuine accountability, voicing struggles, and knowing when motivations are self-absorbed. People with credible integrity are consistent with who they are – in actions on and off the job. 

Integrity is a highly regarded character trait in all areas of life and it’s expected in the marketplace.

Never compromise your own integrity. 

Next time, when faced with a tough choice regarding your ethical or moral behavior, ask yourself, “what is my motivation – will it enhance or damage the organization, my family, and my reputation?”  You’ll know what to do.

Do the right thing (sometimes you may have to stand alone) and keep the door closed on those dishonest temptations.