“Integrity is the key element in leadership. If a person is not honest in the workplace, fair to people, abusive of privileges or speaks to be liked rather than to be true, these are demonstrative of the person’s integrity. People are watching and will make a determination on the degree of integrity a leader has.” — David Kramer
We all have experienced men and women in leadership roles who lack the integrity to inspire our commitment to be a loyal follower. These are the do as I say, not as I do
leaders. What does their behavior inspire?
Such leadership inspires tepid ambivalence.
My first encounter with integrity leadership versus ambivalence leadership occurred in high school. I had two Coach Bobs. Bob-in-the-Fall coached cross country. He used team sports as a character-building tool. He saw dignity in every kid regardless of his or her skills. Bob-in-the-Spring was the track coach. He used coaching to show he was a better athlete than any kid he trained. He tore kids down to build himself up. What were the leadership coaching legacies of these two professionals? Bob-in-the-Fall had perennial winning cross-country teams year after year. Bob-in-the-Spring lasted for a couple of years and was gone, producing teams of mediocrity with some fine athletes.
Coach Bob-in-the-Fall communicated the themes of personal discipline and teamwork. Coach Bob-in-the-Spring believed you were only of value if you were a top-performing athlete – and even if you were, you were never as good an athlete as he.
Wherever practiced, in whatever walk of life, personal and professional integrity leadership inspires trust. It fosters the belief of self and the willingness to work together to achieve common goals. Do leaders of integrity carry a resolute knowing
that their character sets an inspirational example for others to follow? Yes, absolutely! I only need to remember two high school coaches to know that Bob-in-the-Fall has been a life inspiration for 50 years. That’s integrity leadership at its finest!
Mission Integrity Action
I pursue integrity leadership this week. In my actions and interactions I remember that what I do with colleagues, clients and collaborators reveals more about me than any words coming from my lips. I am known as a leader of integrity by behavior that lifts others up.
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge ethicaledge.org