Leadership with Integrity

I have written (and spoken) a lot about values, recently. The first time that I heard about the importance of values was when I was studying Human Resource Management, in the 1990’s and they were called core values, back then. 

Fast forward to 2019, and this week, I am working with a business to understand their values, and how to get the business on board, and engaged in living the values, each and every day. 

What can happen during this process, is that leaders will step into the values, and own them, or they will not, and they will leave the business, saying ‘our values weren’t aligned’ (not uncommon to hear). 

When I do one on one sessions with leaders to talk through their own personal values, and what values they want to lead by – inevitably, somewhere in their top three values is the value of integrity. And, rightly so … 

Integrity is about 3 things, including honesty, having strong moral principles and doing the right thing, even when no-one is watching. Here is an overview of those three elements of integrity: 

1. Leading with Integrity – HONESTY 

Unfortunately, psychology (and studies) tell us that every single person on the planet tells little white lies. Yes, we all do, apparently, whether we recognise it or not, and whether we admit it or not … 

And, “while we are trained to value honesty and to treat lying as dishonorable, we still seem inclined to resort to lying as long as it’s in a good cause. As Lupoli and his fellow researchers point out, people who feel compassion for others seem remarkably prone towards lying, whether to avoid hurting other people’s feelings or to promote the welfare of others” (credit Psychology Today). 

Leaders that are the most honest are the most successful, period. 

Even if you are going to hurt other’s feelings, if you are sharing information with the right intent, and for the right reason, honesty wins every time. 

But that takes leadership courage, and confidence. Leaders that lean into leadership with integrity know that regardless of how hard the conversation is going to be (how robust), the honest path, is the right one. And, honestly (so to speak), your team members will thank you for it, when you are honest with them. 

2. Leading with Integrity – STRONG MORAL PRINCIPLES 

Leading with integrity is about having moral principles that are strong in nature, and resolute in practice. High integrity leaders are never tempted by a short cut, a breach of ethics, a breach of probity or any other fraudulent or other irreputable behaviour. 

I once heard a leader say that they never do anything that is ‘illegal, immoral or unethical’. And, personally, I have taken that mantra on in my own business, as it such a simple yardstick, and an easy measure of behaviour. 

To take it one step further, leadership with integrity might not just be to avoid those types of behaviour, but it could be to be ‘legal, moral and ethical, whilst never having to question ourselves, or our conscience, in relation to how we have acted, whilst adding to the greater good.’ 

If there is a question mark over how you have acted as a leader, it might be time to question your behaviour and your motives … 

3. Leading with Integrity – DOING THE RIGHT THING 

This is an interesting one … it actually comes from our work in the Workplace Health and Safety Leadership space – where we ask people; ‘do you work safely when your supervisor is not watching?’ 

And, for a leader, we need to be asking the same question. Do you do what you say you are going to do, even when no-one is watching, or do you have a public persona, and a (totally different) in-private persona? 

You can tell leaders that are not demonstrating leadership with integrity, as they say one thing, then do another, and can be heard to say; ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’. 

And, we all know that leadership is based on example, not on words, so this comment is that archaic and prehistoric it is not even funny, and leaders that use this phrase are not being congruent (where words and actions align), and certainly are not doing leadership with integrity. 

Furthermore, leaders that wait until their team aren’t watching to behave inappropriately (and, I don’t have to tell you what that looks like – see some of my other blogs), will be found out, and will only encourage that type of behaviour from their team members .. 


And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
Work With Anton!

Subscribe to our Newsletter