Empower Your Leadership With Integrity
In this month-long MAP series highlighting the top-five most favored leadership traits, we’ve perhaps left the most important for last: integrity. Without integrity, many leaders and organizations ultimately will lose credibility, grounding and respect. Consequently, they’ll falter or fail. Lack of credibility can surface over time or in an instant, wrecking irrevocable damage in its wake. While there are exceptions, leaders who overlook, ignore or outright choose to think and behave without integrity as their guide often pay a hefty price, whether it’s to the bottom line, their reputation or both. Integrity can be translated in a number of ways, but it’s about living and working in honest ways, integrating this core value into your mindset and activities. Ultimately, it’s using it as the source and guidepost for all you say and do.
Here’s how to ensure integrity is part of your leadership style:
1. Know And Be True To Yourself
There are so many paths to pick in your leadership journey, so how do you choose the right one for you? Get grounded in the knowledge of who you are, what you stand for and believe, and what you want out of your business and life overall. Use MAP’s professional development plan to help you identify your values, your vital goals and the strategies that will support your goal achievement. Then be strong—discipline yourself to stay the course and call upon courage to course correct if you find you’ve wavered off path.
2. Use Truth To Act Quickly
In essence, truthfulness is a change accelerator—one that always starts with you. Operating from that space within, you can make integrity-based choices particularly when you’re in a rush, don’t have the luxury of time to ponder possibilities, or, quite frankly, are panicking about what to do. Ever notice yourself perseverating about why you should or should not do something? Make it a habit to recognize situations you get in or people you know that make it hard for you to be honest with yourself or them. Spot the internal inhibitors (e.g., rationalizing, making excuses and pushing blame) that undermine your integrity and create an action plan for how to manage opportunities in healthy, beneficial ways.
3. Communicate With Integrity
This doesn’t just mean being truthful or honest with others. It’s about consistently communicating that this value matters to you, as their leader, and for the welfare of the organization and its people. How do you do that? Some of the many ways include clarifying the importance of this value in job descriptions and expectations when hiring. Make sure hires know what it means. Also, integrity—and examples of it—can be highlighted and praised during performance reviews. When a team or individual acts upholds integrity amidst a challenge, call it out and celebrate it. This may mean highlighting it at a company-wide meeting, in an all-staff email, or in the company’s internal newsletter. Point is, if you want integrity to remain top-of-mind with your people, you need to take action around keeping it top of mind, communicating what it means and why it matters. If you’ve got the right people on board, they, too, will then take this value seriously.
How do you spot an employee who may be lacking in integrity?