“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

Integrity Overview

We feel strongly that integrity is the most essential leadership competency. Without integrity, especially across the organization’s leadership, the business will not stay in business for very long. Integrity is the foundation of every successful organization. And, the integrity of a business is only as good as that of its people. Integrity is the steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code, moral soundness, honesty, and freedom from corrupting influence or motive.

Why Integrity is Important to a Leader

Your personal integrIntegrityity is of paramount importance to your career. If people feel you are not honest, cannot be trusted, or engage in unethical behaviors, you will lose your best followers. As a leader, you have a responsibility to not only operate with integrity yourself, but to insure your team members do as well. In particular, leaders are expected to maintain the privacy of information, including both personal and confidential information about the company or employees. If this trust is breached, the leader will lose the ability to effectively lead.

Benefits for the Leader

Having a reputation as a leader with integrity is critical to any leader who wants to progress in their career. There is no greater career limiter than instances of poor judgment and integrity. When you apply integrity to every part of your life, you will have a much greater opportunity for success. Integrity may be difficult at times. For example, if senior leadership in your organization does not act in integrity, you must take action to either fix the situation or even remove yourself from the organization. Always stand up for your principles – your reputation and credibility are at stake.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Integrity
  1. Think of instances when you may not have been fully truthful in your statements or actions. What would the result have been if you had been honest in the situation? What behaviors should you change in this area? List them and develop an action plan to immediately improve in this important area.
  2. Can you list the ethical standards for your position? Consider listing them and posting in a prominent place in your work area. Not only will this remind you of your standards but also it will demonstrate to others that you take them seriously.
  3. Review the types of information you encounter in your position. Which information should be held in confidence? Which information can be shared with others? Make this list, and if you have any confusion or uncertainty, discuss with your superiors.
Measure and Improve Your Integrity Skills

Be determined to improve your integrity skills and behaviors. Take the short self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 23 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you renew in this important competency.

Related Competencies:



Measure your integrity skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your integrity.


Recommended Integrity Books:

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