Businessdictionary.com defines integrity as “strict adherence to a moral code, reflected in transparent honesty and complete harmony in what one thinks, says, and does.” See, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/integrity.html
It is a good definition; however, because it focuses on personal statements and personal behavior (“what one thinks, says, and does”) it is, in my humble opinion, merely the starting point of a leader’s responsibility as it relates to integrity.
For sure, a good leader has integrity; but the team that a good leader empowers, the people who represent a good leader, the transactions engaged in by a good leader, and the environments occupied by a good leader are also filled with integrity.
If not, what’s the point of personal integrity? Does it matter if we have integrity when everything in our sphere of influence lacks integrity? God forbid we delegate questionable tasks to others so we can reap the benefits of their handiwork (dirty work?) while we proclaim how much integrity we have.
If the principle from the following book excerpt describes us, then shame on us.:
“You sit there with this halo shining over your head like you are civilized, non-violent. . . . You just get someone else to do your fighting for you. Like the police, your husband, or brother, or whoever. Then after they go and do your dirty work, you claim civility.” From The Death of a Dream by William Dietz.
If we are to perceive ourselves as good leaders, then we can’t be the only person in the room walking in integrity. We must insist that our team, our associates, and our partnerships, also operate in integrity. We must insist that our environments cultivate integrity; and we must participate only in transactions that are filled with integrity.
If you’re willing to share, please let me know what benefits you have gained by being surrounded by people of integrity. Send me a note via the contact form. I will send you an excerpt from my book, Transforming: The Power of Leading from Identity, as a thank you.