Want to know the true character of a leader? Place them in a position of greater responsibility.

What is integrity to a leader?
Do what’s right legally and morally. What does that really mean? It could mean the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Maybe some of our current congressional leaders could learn this trait. I mean teach us the actual definition or maybe not. I have found that through my journeys as a leader, there have been many leaders whose integrity were in question but seemed to manage to move up through ranks of senior leadership and manage large organizations. Right or wrong, it happens, but how could this be? Well, it starts with the culture of acceptance. When people buy into your brand, or believe in your vision and what you stand for, and your organization is successful, people have a tendency to tolerate a person’s integrity when it’s in question.

When your organization is successful, thriving beyond expectations and the revenue is off the charts, people’s loyalty will be to their leader because we are all human and we do make mistakes. Integrity defines the essence of who we are and what we stand for based upon our beliefs and values. It’s important to understand that we must be of high moral standards in what we say and in the actions we take in being committed to the truth. Here are some leader mistakes that I have experienced just by observing others. When we say one thing—“do as I say not as I do”—and our actions are totally contrary to our beliefs and values, it questions our integrity and our credibility goes out the window. I have advised many leaders to caution themselves in making a critical decision when they are upset or have taken an issue personally. We can never allow ourselves to get caught up in a situation to where we fall into that trap of false decision making. Professional values and personal values in decision-making cannot co-habitat together; it’s like mixing oil and water—you will fail every time to make the right decision. When we base our decision on emotions, our decision-making process will not be clear; it’s biased and it will affect the morale of those we lead in the organization.

If we value our creditability, we must conduct ourselves accordingly with high moral standards, and make sound and timely decisions in every aspect of a right or wrong situation. If we have to consult with others or a mentor to help guide us on determining the right course of action, then we have to do it.
A leader’s moral standard requires that we do not say anything that would deceive others. There is nothing more damaging to one’s creditability when a leader cannot determine the right course of action when it comes to right or wrong situations; our reputation depends on it. Who wants to follow a leader that has no moral standards? No one; right is right, and wrong is wrong. We have to make the right choices; it’s our duty to do so, and it’s imperative that we get it right.