Leading with Integrity: 4 Defining Questions
Integrity is a foreign word to many leaders. Be ethical, tell the truth, and do what you say you will do. This the essence of integrity. Yet, only 37% of employees view Ceo’s as credible. Considering all of the celebrity type leaders across industries and vocations that have bit the dust, this is not surprising but it is also a sad fact.
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Honesty, integrity, and ethics are in great demand! More and more companies have created ethical statements as guidelines for behavior in the business. Doing business the right way is becoming more crucial than being the best. After all, if you are dishonest, it affects the trust you have in your relationships with employees and customers alike. It also erodes the foundation of your inner conscience. It’s been stated, “To thine own self be true.” If you aren’t, how can you be with others or really achieve success as a leader?
The 4 Integrity Questions
Use these four questions as a check to keep you on the straight and narrow.
- What is needed?
- What will work?
- What is moral and legal?
- What is right?
In his book Principled Centered Leadership, Stephen Covey defines integrity as: “Honestly matching words and feelings with thoughts and actions, with no desire other than for the good of others, without malice or desire to deceive, take advantage, manipulate, or control, constantly reviewing your intent as you strive for congruence.” How do you know if you are acting with integrity? Here are some indicators:
- You keep your word.
- You follow-up on your commitments.
- Your behavior and values match.
- In spite of your mood, you treat people respectfully.
- You don’t need to drop names, situations, or events in conversations to impress people.
- You strive to do the right thing not the expedient thing.
- When under temptation to bend the rules, you stay honorable to the company’s values and what’s right.
- You treat all people with respect and dignity.
- Poor taste in humor is not part of your vocabulary.
Whether you are a manager or not, your integrity defines who you are in relationships. Are you out for yourself only or do you care about the success of others, too? People more readily follow those who have an interest in their needs and that they can trust.
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