Integrity is the number one quality of leadership. Integrity in leadership is expressed in terms of constancy and consistency. It is manifested in an absolute devotion to keeping one’s word. The glue that holds all relationships together-including the relationship between the leader and the led—is trust, and trust is based on integrity. Integrity is so important that functioning in our society would be impossible without it. We could not make even a simple purchase without a high level of confidence that the price was honest and that the change was correct.
The most successful individuals and companies in America are those with reputations of high integrity among everyone they deal with. This level of integrity builds the confidence that others have in them and enables them to do more business than their competitors whose ethics may be a little shaky. Earl Nightingale once wrote, “If honesty did not exist, it would have to be invented, as it is the surest way of getting rich. ” A study at Harvard University concluded that the most valuable asset that a company has is how it is known to its customers, its reputation.
By the same token, your greatest personal asset is the way that you are known to your customers. It is your personal reputation for keeping your word and fulfilling your commitments. Your integrity precedes you and affects all of your interactions with other people. There are several things you can do to move you more rapidly toward becoming the kind of person that you know you are capable of becoming. The first is to decide upon my five most important values in life. Organize them in order of priority.
Then I write a brief paragraph defining what each of those values means to me. A value combined with a definition becomes an organizing principle, a statement that I can use to help me make better decisions. It is a measure and standard which enables me to know how closely I am adhering to my innermost beliefs and convictions. Five of my most important values are: helping those who are less fortunate, working hard to reach my goals, being honest and truthful, working with others to get things done, and being the nicest person anyone could meet.
I have always been regarded as a leader and that does not come with ease: backlash of the bullies and those who want to bring me down to get where I am will always encounter me, but because of my high integrity and honesty to do what is “right” I will not retaliate against them. I must go into others shoes, which enables me to help others in more ways than one, because their situations make me emotionally motivated to get them in a better place to be successful. Integrity is hard work, but that work is nothing but rewarding. I’m a leader and I will continue to develop to be the best leader I am to become, by living with integrity every day.