As the leader of a business, you need to gain the respect and trust of the people you are leading in order to effectively coordinate your team and achieve your company’s objectives. One of the most important characteristics you’ll want to portray is that you have integrity, demonstrating a sense of fairness and justice to your employees.
What does it mean to lead with integrity?
Traditionally, being a leader has been synonymous with being ruthless and hard-headed. Leading meant making tough decisions for the good of the business – not the good of employees.
But there are many types of leaders and authoritarian leadership is no longer favoured as it once was. Some of today’s inspirational leaders are those who can lead by following principles, rather than following money.
What does showing integrity require?
To show integrity you must have your values, actions, principles, methods and expected outcomes totally in alignment so that you consistently demonstrate your commitment to the cause you represent. By consistently demonstrating small actions and behaviors that are aligned with the objectives you’re trying to lead your company to achieve, you will inspire your team to follow your vision.
Below we discuss a couple of behaviors that leaders with integrity often demonstrate, to serve as a working guide as your work to drive the strategic direction of your business.
What are the best ways to lead with integrity?
There are many ways to convey integrity through your manner and the decisions you make. But some are more likely to motivate people than others. Here are some ways to embrace integrity for leaders who want to make a real impact on their employees.
When things don’t go to plan or people don’t live up to the expectation or responsibility you’ve placed on them, the way to demonstrate your integrity is to stick to your values when addressing the situation.
If for example, a value of your company is to be adaptable, you could tackle the lack of success by thinking of alternative solutions, rather than accepting the excuse that the plan failed, or that the individuals involved didn’t achieve the objective.
As the leader, take responsibility for the part you played in the task and help your team to understand taking responsibility and learning from the experience is not an exercise in pointing the finger, but the most effective way to grow.
Set a good example
When it comes to leadership, actions really do speak louder than words. If your employees see you stick to your principles, even when it’s not easy to do so, that’s much more powerful than any talk you can give. They’ll remember that you didn’t compromise on those principles when it would’ve been more convenient to do so.
Plus, seeing a senior leader live by their values will reassure more junior employees that they can do the same. In fact, it could go some way towards creating a culture of integrity and honesty.
Always provide honest communication
Most employees now see transparency as vital. And they’re especially appreciative of honesty during uncertain times. If redundancies are rumoured or a company takeover is leaked, it pays to be upfront about the situation. You don’t even necessarily have to go into details: just being open about the general reality of a situation will score points with employees.
When people think their jobs are in the balance, the last thing they want is to be kept in the dark. Even if it’s bad news, people will respect you for telling the truth when, traditionally, it’s news that might have been covered up. If you can be honest about matters like that, then they’ll be more likely to listen to you and believe what you say day to day. They’ll also believe you’re on their side.
Give without expecting in return
By giving without expecting anything in return, you will set a standard within your company for sharing and supporting colleagues freely. Whether it’s your time, expertise, support on a project or a coffee – by giving help and effort to your team, without expecting anything in return, you will gain the widespread respect of people you’re managing. You will be considered someone who is genuine in their commitment to the company and its employees, and this will inspire others around you to follow your lead.
If you’re looking for your next strategic leadership role, or you’re currently looking to grow your senior management team with individuals who will lead with integrity, contact Anthony Gregg to discuss your requirements.