Three Ways to Lead with Integrity
Integrity as a leadership quality is invaluable and irreplaceable. A leader without integrity will end up in unsavory places with an unmotivated team.
As the leader of a small start up shop, I was tempted to participate in an activity that went against my personal beliefs so that I could bring revenue in the door to make sure that staff and operational needs were met. Mind you, this was not an illegal act and really others wouldn’t have objected. It was my personal and internal angst that made the situation uncomfortable. As I wrestled with the pros and cons of the decision, I received some very sage and timely advice from a wise and well respected leader.
He said, “If you compromise this time, you will be headed down a slippery slope. Trust and believe that you will be able to make the budget without compromising your values, and you will sleep better at night because you stayed true to who you are.”
He was, and is, a very wise man. We made the budget without compromising our values, and I did sleep better knowing that I had not abandoned my integrity, even though it would have been for a good cause.
As a leader, integrity is synonymous with credibility. Endearing followers starts with making sure that leadership integrity stays in tact, even when no one else is around, and no one else is looking. Why should a leader care about what followers think? Leaders should care because when a follower believes in a leader, they will put forth maximum effort to make sure the leader is supported and that the leader looks good. These three ways to lead with integrity will help you to stay true to your values.
Here are three tips to keep you leadership integrity in check:
1. Know your core values and what you believe. If you don’t know what your values are then it’s going to be easy not to abide by them. When you know them, don’t compromise them. This doesn’t mean that you will never compromise on anything, it just means that there is a certain line beyond which no deals can be made. And, it doesn’t matter whether anyone is looking or not, this is a promise to yourself.
2. Get a leadership mentor. This mentor should be someone that you admire, and a person of integrity who has been in a leadership role longer than you have. Communicate with them often, especially when you have an issue that doesn’t sit well with you. Your leadership mentor can be a voice of reason when the pressures of leading appears to be sending you down a pot hole laden road of broken integrity.
3. Feed your spirit. Human beings are body, mind, and spirit. As a leader, you give all day every day, and you must replenish the motivation, inspiration, and guidance you give out to others. When you are low in this area, lots of integrity busting ideas become more acceptable than they would have had you spent some quality time replenishing the inspiration you give out to others.
Integrity is not tangible. You can’t touch it. You can’t pull it off of a shelf. However, if you don’t have it, you could find yourself in a world of trouble. Use these three ways to lead with integrity to keep you out of troublesome situations.
Need help establishing your core leadership values? Contact me at leadershipsituations.com