When you are a leader, it is very important to lead with integrity. If you lead with integrity people will trust you. If you don’t lead with integrity, people will distrust you. To lead with integrity, you must be honest, true to your word, and trustworthy.
A little while back I was on a quest to learn about how to lead with integrity. I picked up a book called Leading with Integrity: Character Based Leadership by Alan Kolp and Peter Rea. The authors mentioned many great points on how to lead with integrity.
The authors make three points that you may not think of when you think of leading with integrity. They were globalization and technology, servant leadership and competence, and teaching character. Each of these sections is very relevant to understanding what it means to lead with integrity.
Globalization and Technology
In today’s world the use of technology and globalization is growing faster than ever before. Innovation continues to increase technology is most countries throughout the world. Companies are outsourcing more work to countries with less expensive labor. They are also building offshore warehouses to produce their goods. With the technology, they use telecommunication systems to conference call from one location to another across the globe. As the book points out, the number of overseas phone calls has dramatically increased over the last decade.
With increased globalization, companies grow and expand into many nations. The globalization is great, but the change in business atmosphere requires greater leaders than ever before. It is more important than ever to lead with integrity. Leaders need to lead with integrity by holding to strong moral and ethical values. With extensive technology, someone is always watching.
It is essential that leaders continue to adhere to ethical standards to lead with integrity. Without a strong backbone of ethical behavior, no company will succeed long-term.
Servant Leadership and Competence
Both servant leadership and competency are essential to lead with integrity. Servant leadership is defined as the character of the company or individual. Servant leaders are found in many organizations at all levels of leadership. Servant leadership occurs when leaders seek the overall good. It is seen in leaders that do what is best for everyone, not just themselves. Can you lead with integrity by telling those you lead that you will do one thing and then doing something different?
Competence as explained by the authors refers to the knowledge of companies, individuals, and the government. To lead with integrity, competency allows the community, company and individuals to know and understand ethical standards and make the right choices.
In today’s world companies need to have both servant leadership and competence to lead with integrity. Servant leadership (character) helps to better the company, community and individuals while competency gives them the knowledge that they are making the right choices.
Strong moral character is necessary to lead with integrity. Strong moral character as defined by the authors is the ability to take learned ethical principles and put them into practice when making decisions. Ethics are taught in the home, school, church, etc. In a world where deceit in well-known companies is becoming more common, it is becoming more difficult to find individuals with strong character.
As a leader, do all you can to teach character to those you lead. As you teach character, you will find that your own character will improve in addition to the character of those you lead.
In my life, I have always strived to be a person of great integrity. I have always tried to follow the good examples of the leaders in my life. I always want to be thought of as a trustworthy person with good character. What do you do everyday to lead with integrity? How do you cultivate a higher level of integrity amongst those you lead? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!