Being in a leadership role is about more than just profit margins. A strong leader is someone that can be trusted to make important decisions for the company and employees. These decisions are often complex with no clear-cut answers.
A key ingredient to being a successful leader is having integrity. Integrity is the ability to be the person you say you are. You need to know your moral values and stick to them, no matter what happens.
Many leaders write down their guiding principles and can effortlessly repeat them if asked.
Hopefully, the first thing you did was to investigate your company before you were hired. It is critical to your success to match any employer as closely to your belief system as possible so you can operate within your value system — with integrity.
As any executive coach will tell you, being true to one’s own beliefs and values is not always an easy thing to do especially in the business world, where everything seems to be measured by the company’s profit statement. Leading with integrity will build trust in your employees, and other key people within the company.
An example of adhering to moral values was a difficult choice that a VP of Human Resources had to make. An assistant on his staff (who was pregnant) violated a ban on anyone in HR accepting a fee for referring a potential employee who was later hired. She had apparently “made a deal” with another employee, not in HR, to split the referral fee.
After he struggled with this decision for days, the VP of Human Resources terminated the employee, despite her pregnancy. He was guided by his moral values, despite having second and third thoughts about terminating a woman he liked and who was pregnant.
A good leader will be honest and truthful, even when it hurts. A leader will not play the victim, but take responsibility for his decisions, even when mistakes are made. That will build trust.
Leaders that inspire others to be the best they can be will create a work environment that is pleasurable to be in. They will empower their staff to take on some decision-making under the executive coaching of their leader, and will be backed if they fail.
Leaders who inspire their employees create loyalty, spark creativity, resulting in higher levels of performance and retention.
As a leader you will be judged not only by your bottom line numbers but also by the assessment of your team.
These factors create cohesive and productive teams that will benefit the company and further your trajectory as a leader. Relying on your integrity and moral compass to guide you has a far greater positive effect than is readily apparent.