Leadership and Integrity

Qualities of Integrity

Leadership and integrity requires courage to promote and act upon organizational core values in a positive way. This exhibits integrity. Integrity is adhering to a set of values for the common good.

Leadership is based on the concept of working with others to accomplish agreed upon goals for the common good. The focus is on the leader’s ability to work with, through, and together with others to get results. It envisions working with direct contributors to get desirable outcomes, uses group goals to set direction, and specifies objectives against which to determine future achievement. Most of all, it generates the energy to produce effects. Such leadership takes responsibility for moving others to actions so there are actually outcomes.

Five Qualities of Leaders with Integrity:

  • Respect Others – treat others as ends in themselves and never a means to ends, listen closely, are tolerant of opposing points of view, make others feel competent, treat others as worthy human beings
  • Serve Others – place stakeholder’s and follower’s welfare foremost in their plans, mentor and empower others, practice stewardship, act in ways that benefit others and the greater good
  • Show Justice – treat people in an equal manner, demonstrate fairness, communicate rules and reasons for allocation of resources/rewards/ punishments, explain reasons for differential treatment of others
  • Are Honest – tell the truth, represent reality as fully and completely as possible, are sensitive to attitudes and feelings of others, are trustworthy, reward honest behavior in the organization
  • Build Community – influence others for a common goal that benefits leaders and followers, attend to the needs and demands of the community, build voluntary followership, advance the human condition

Northouse, P.G. (2001). Leadership: Theory and practice (2nd ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Quotes on leadership and integrity

One of the greatest challenges in organizations today is creating a culture that is both values-centered and performance-driven. Requiring both simultaneously requires skilled leadership. Integrity must run deep in the fabric of an organizations culture. It guides the everyday actions of employees and is central to business conduct.  

Bill George, Former Chairman and CEO, Medtronic

Ethical behavior, which leads to leadership and integrity, has been likened to exercise.

·      It is not enough to have good intent; we must act on our intentions. It is a lifelong commitment.

·      As leaders, we must find the courage to act upon our values and organizational values in a positive way.

·      When and where there are conflicts and dilemmas, care needs to be taken to think through the alternatives and work together for the most satisfactory solution. Learning to use simple, tried and true models can help.

"You have to be known for high integrity – doing what you say, saying what you mean" HP Chairman, President, & CEO Meg Whitman 

For more information on leadership and integrity

Donna Rae Scheffert

Leadership Tools leadershiptools@charter.net


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