Today’s leader must be many things if they’re to win the mutual respect of their employees.

We expect our managers to be competent, inspirational, approachable, and perhaps to possess an innate thirst for success which we know will aid the achievement of ourselves within the business itself.

But what of integrity?
Do we care?
Does it really matter?
How does integrity play even the smallest part in ensuring an effective workforce and a winning company strategy?

It helps to start by reminding ourselves exactly what integrity really is:
To quote the Oxford Dictionary:
‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles personal/professional/artistic integrity to behave with integrity a man of great integrity’.

While we don’t all need to have a desire to spend every Saturday evening watching the television with our bosses or dining out with them for a birthday, it stands to reason that we might want to believe them to be honest, and to have the high values we seek in other quarters of our life.

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Leaders who act with integrity show this in any number of ways.

For example, they’re more likely to:

  • Own up to mistakes
  • Be authentic about the nature of the business’s opportunities, financial status, or hurdles ahead
  • Exercise trustworthiness and provide a sincere openness to hearing of employee problems
  • Show themselves to have a strong work ethic and be reliable – regardless of whether anyone is obviously observing them
  • Treat customers and staff with respect
  • Take decisions for the best possible reasons and be accountable to them

That list alone, is perhaps a solid indicator of why such a leadership basis is not only more attractive for an employee, but is more likely to help a member of staff thrive themselves.

Such ‘integrity in action’ naturally creates a culture of trust within a workforce, and of an ‘in it together’ mentality, with everyone conscious that from the top-down and bottom-up, we all care about the ship we’re sailing, and the crew that are sailing her….no matter the state of the sea.

Typically, a company or organisation with a leader of great integrity, will result in having a business which is:

  • Persistently encouraging and promoting leaders who also have integrity and who care for clients, workmates, and all who play part of the supply chain cycle
  • Successful in making ethically appropriate decisions
  • Always creating an environment whereby diversity and inclusion is valued and where more people from more varied backgrounds feel nurtured and welcome
  • Channelling idea-sharing at all times, with staff aware that there is an open and positive culture which favours healthy contributions of all kind
  • Resilient within its teams and its own business strategy, where staff engagement remains high through challenge
  • Trusted – by customers, suppliers, staff and even the media.

While integrity isn’t something which is purchased as an asset, or something which exists in all leaders and potential leaders, it very much is possible to create within your business a culture that sets the standard and helps everyone in the enterprise to recognise and rise to such levels of moral standard.

The first step in exploring this within your company or organisation is always to do some honest and potentially awkward exploration of how you and your team are viewed, what of your activities are perceived as being ‘of integrity’, and where you may fall short.

However tough this exercise may be, it’s an exercise that favours the sincere and well-intended leader….and which reaps great rewards for trust, engagement and resilience in the long term.

For our help in assessing brand and leader integrity, or to explore how you might develop a new ‘culture concept’ in your workplace, contact us for a chat.