Integrity is a leader’s personal commitment to the set of moral and ethical values. Typical values include honesty, industry, self-discipline and consistency.
Integrity is essential in a leader that wants to build mutual trust and inspire loyalty. These leaders demonstrate high personal values and standards, demonstrating such values consistently.
They achieve this by:
- Demonstrating co-operative and collaborative behaviour
- Being open and honest
- Motivating people and inspiring them to achieve
- Being scrupulously fair
- Championing the interests of the team
A leader with high levels of integrity recognises what information and knowledge should be shared and which confidences should be retained. This includes respecting the diversity of the group and the boundaries of the relationships between people in the group.
High integrity leaders recognise what constitutes banter and when banter goes too far and becomes harassment. They have the courage to step in at the appropriate point to deal with the situation. They know the boundaries between gossip and knowledge and will act with consistency in making individuals aware of the impact their actions have on others.
Such leaders also understand their responsibility towards those they lead and can adapt their use of personal values, experience and judgement to resolve moral problems.
With a solid understanding of the corporate and social culture, high integrity leaders do not hide behind rules and regulations – they honour the spirit and intentions any rules and regulations but are not constrained by them. They accept that people have different codes and do not compromise their own code to fit in with others, They are however, flexible and can adapt to the diversity of the people they work with and lead.
A strong personal understanding and self awareness is essential and high integrity leaders know when they are in a position to offer advice, and when they themselves should be seeking advice. They exercise self discipline and self control in managing the team, while maintaining a sense of humour and the ability to have fun.
Leaders that inspire and encourage loyalty, focus on building trust within the team. This trust will be strained if the leader’s decision over-rides the aims and hopes of the team without an adequate explanation or worse to protect the leader’s own position. This needs the leader to be honest and straightforward. A leader acknowledges good work publicly and makes sure senior managers are aware of who has performed well and gives credit where it is due, both privately and publicly.
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