This week we began what will be a 10-part series on Leadership Essentials. In the first podcast of this series, CEO, Rick Breden, talks about the importance of doing what you say you will do and integrity as a leader, and it turns out that many people agree with this sentiment. We’ve all heard the word integrity thrown around in leadership trainings, but what does it really mean? A common definition of integrity is a “concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.” Often, integrity is misinterpreted as just being honest or just inherently “being a good person,” but as you can see there is much more to it. On a deeper level, the word integrity is derived from the latin word “integer” which means whole and complete. In our leadership trainings, one of our favorite concepts is the concept of our behaviors being wholesome, meaning: “Is it good for you? Is it good for me? Is it sustainable?” Leading with integrity checks all these boxes.
To lead with integrity, consistency is king, which means being the same regardless of the situation or how you’re feeling. We all know people whose mood sways depending on the day and who say something one day and do the complete opposite the next. Do you consider this person to be a great leader? Probably not. Consistency is a conscious choice that we can make as leaders, even when the conditions might not be ideal. How honest and consistent are your behaviors, actions, and words with the people you lead? Do you always say what you’re going to do? Do you practice what you preach?
Like a lot of the concepts we discuss, always leading with integrity can sometimes be a difficult task. As humans, sometimes we mess up and don’t keep our commitments, or let our emotions take over. However, by cultivating self awareness, intention and practice, you can become a leader who tries to lead with integrity 100% of the time. No one will ever be perfect, but you can always strive for excellence and reflect on the things that may be holding you back in order to become the best, most effective you, and to positively influence those around you.
Here are a few quotes from great thinkers, artists and entrepreneurs to get you thinking about the importance of integrity as a leader in a new light:
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.”-Aristotle
“The man who promises everything is sure to fulfill nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.”-Carl Jung
“In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”– Warren Buffet
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”-Bob Marley
“Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.”-Lou Holtz
“It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.”-Zig Ziglar
“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.”-Lewis Cass
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”-Carl Jung
“Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises or do not make them.”-Roy T. Bennett
“The glue that holds all relationships together–including the relationship between the leader and the led–is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”–Brian Tracy
“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”– Confucius
“People follow leaders by choice. Without trust, at best you get compliance.”–Jesse Lyn Stoner, author of Full Steam Ahead
“Everyone makes mistakes, but only a person with integrity owns up to them.”– Nicole Guillaume
“Integrity is making sure that the things you say and the things you do are in alignment.”-Katrina Mayer
“People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach.”-David A. Bednar