The most important personality trait as a leader is integrity. Integrity comes from the Latin word ‘integer’, means whole and complete. So integrity requires wholeness and consistency of character. Integrity is doing the right thing in a right way.
In ethics, integrity is considered as the honesty and truthfulness of a person’s actions. It is a concept of being consistent with our actions, values, principles, expectations and outcomes. Being consistent means that we are being the same regardless of our situations. Consistency is a choice that we, as leaders, have to make every day, even when the situation is not favorable to us.
Integrity is about telling the truth, even if the truth is ugly. When we are in integrity, people should be able to see it clearly through our words, actions and decisions. We are as who we are, no matter what kind of situations we are in.
Integrity is the trait that distinguish great leaders from other leaders. Several characteristics of great leaders:
- Never compromise integrity and honesty with cheating in their actions.
- Doing the right things because they know it is the right thing to do. Sometimes what great leaders do will not please others. But they will not change their decisions to make other people happy.
- Always tell the truth and keep their promises. Leaders with integrity will not afraid to face the truth. True leader will learn to see the world as it is, not as he/she wants it to be. True leaders will not give many promises, they even reluctant when giving promises. But once the promise said, it will be done.
- Walk the talk. True leaders will do whatever they said. They will lead and give examples for whatever they say
No compromise for honesty and integrity. Integrity is a state of mind and does not depend on situations. If we compromise our integrity in small situations with little consequences, then it will become very easy for us to compromise on bigger situations.
Jon Huntsman, Sr, on his book – ‘Winners Never Cheat’ said, “There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life.” He wrote “There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.”
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. – Matthew 5:37 (NKJV)