What does it mean for a leader to have Integrity? People say that one of the most desirable traits of a leader is Integrity. When we think of integrity, there are some things that instantly come to mind: honesty, ethics, strong values and good judgment.
If you put those things into a recipe a good leader should emerge. But do they? You can’t see integrity, just like you can’t see honesty or strong values, so how do you judge it?
Integrity in transformational leadership is not genetic. I have a client who has the unique ability of being extremely strong strategically, one of the broadest thinkers I have ever met, with an amazing ability to execute. Her bosses love her because she can do both strategy and execution, and she has a remarkable capacity to take on large assignments and have them turn out. She doesn’t view what she does as something special, but as good and effective work practices that are replicable. Yet people see what she has done as proof of her integrity, and consider her a transformational leader.
Perhaps what we see as integrity is the result of good work practices that have become so practiced they are now habits. While one could say that great leaders’ integrity is a function of their credibility and reliability, the work practices that breed this may be:
For instance having a practice of keeping under 50 emails in your inbox, or responding to voice messages within 24 hours, or having your people know that you are available to them an hour each day: these are all ways to develop a reputation for credibility and reliability.
Creating and honoring those practices begins to establish reliability. And by being reliable in those practices, people begin to say, “that person is a person of integrity.” What practices could you invent and implement that would have people say that about you?