Is your leadership built on integrity?
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – Anonymous
There are debates over who really said this quote but whoever it was, they hit the nail on the head. Most people would like to believe that they had a high level of integrity and you’ll find it high up on every list of values that good leaders should hold but, unfortunately, integrity is not always there and when we look at the decisions we make every day – both big and small – we find that integrity is not always at the forefront of our minds.
What happens when leaders lack integrity?
Have you ever tried to keep up with your own lies? Most of us have had the experience of a little white lie turning into something a little more elaborate and it can be hard to keep track. The best way to avoid this situation is to not lie at all. Eventually the lies, no matter how big they are, will be found out and you will be revealed as a leader who lies to their team. From that point on, any trust you have built up over time will be lost. No leader wants a team that doesn’t listen to them or trust them.
Not only will you lose the trust of your team, you could also be fostering the same behaviour amongst your team members. If you don’t value truth and honesty, you could find yourself with team full of people who hide the truth from you and only tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Teams that lie to each other and to their leader are built on shaky ground and it is extremely difficult to rebuild trust and integrity again.
So, how can you make sure you are acting with integrity?
- Never make promises you can’t keep – no matter how small they may seem to you. Think deeply about the promise you’re about to make to your team member or even a fellow leader. If you feel even a little uncertain that you can make it happen, simply don’t make the promise and always be upfront with them about the possible outcomes.
- Act consistently in all situations – many people think they only have to do the right thing when they’re being supervised by someone higher up than them or someone who is scrutinising their every move. Acting one way in public and another when people are looking the other way is not a good foundation for leadership. Be consistent with all your actions.
- Always ensure your words match up with your actions – your team will be very reluctant to trust you if you say one thing and do another.
- Remember that integrity doesn’t always mean sharing everything – most times it’s unnecessary to share every detail. Integrity simply means that you need to be honest in the things that you do share – always be telling the truth.
At the end of the day, integrity will make sure that your whole team and organisation are always on the same page. It’s important to remember that having integrity does not mean that it tough decisions will suddenly become easy; integrity simply means that you will feel better about the decisions that you do make, because you will know that you have done the right thing.
If you’re ready to make sure your leadership is built on integrity, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.