A recent leadership column explores the importance of living out a leader’s values with integrity.
- In a recent op-ed for Inc., executive leadership coach Marcel Schwantes argues that there is a leadership skill that is far more important than intelligence, charisma, or creativity.
- In order to maintain a strong reputation—a necessity for everyday life in leadership—good leaders must “not risk your integrity,” as integrity is one of the most important traits a leader can have.
- Integrity allows good leaders to “speak their truth,” “keep their word,” “cut through conflict,” and “stay true to who they are.”
Why It’s Important
A leader who does not act with integrity is going to be an unreliable leader. Leaders have a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders, having to guide others, build teams, embody values, and live them out daily in their interactions.
Leaders who don’t act on these traits—who lack transparency, are dishonest with customers, fail to hold themselves accountable, create conflict, and don’t live up to their own values—will fail to inspire integrity in others and harm their coworkers and subordinates.
Having a good reputation is invaluable, and that means it must be lived out in the actions of those who proclaim their values. When leaders are faced with daily challenges, they have the opportunity to live out their values in their challenges and decisions in such a way that others will recognize that they walk with integrity.
“The competitive advantage of having integrity steers people into making good choices. This is good for your business decisions, and it protects your reputation. And it starts with whom you put into your leadership and management positions,” says Schwantes.
“I do not deny the importance of IQ, confidence, or charisma when hiring and promoting innovative leaders or knowledge workers to solve your company’s biggest problems. But I’ve been on the receiving end of hiring brilliant, charismatic, and creative geniuses only to watch them destroy morale and company culture with an arsenal of dishonesty, deception, and narcissism.”