Values are the foundation of our success, hence we recruit against our values, but more over we design a company culture where we encourage to live our values, either at work or in our personal life. One of the most interesting insights from our people is that they requests LEADERSHIP to their managers. Leadership is mainly seen as acting with integrity, being a role mode, set the example, set the direction.
Can you be a leader without integrity? There are researches which actually say that this is possible.
My personal view is that Companies strongly need Leaders with Integrity, and actually without integrity, passion and drive, a manager can be a great professional, but not a great Leader.
Jon Urquhart, Vice President Organization and Talent Development at Sabre, greets our Senior Managers during the most important leadership training event in our Company, in the following way: “Please remember that being a Leader is a privilege”.
The privilege needs to be honoured!
Integrity is defined as the consistency between what a leader says and what the leader does. It’s an alignment between a person’s values, beliefs, words and actions, as well as the extent to which promises are kept. “The consistency of their actions creates two effects: 1) It establishes a predictable pattern of behaviour. This allows others to know when it is their turn and where there is space for them to contribute. 2) It creates safely. When people operate in predictable ways, we know what to expect and we become comfortable around them. This comfort allows people not only to jump in, but to do so with full power of thought.”
Integrity is also perceived to be closely related to honesty, trustworthiness and fairness and is frequently thought to be a measure of good moral character. Finally, integrity is judged by how closely the leader’s behaviour and actions are consistent with the moral frameworks of a community and/or organization.
Learning to lead with integrity requires developing self-awareness, adhering to a strict moral code and communicating truthfully with group members, regardless of the complexity of the situation or the possibility of negative consequences. Rudolph Giuliani says a leader has to be direct and unfiltered. “I became a much better political speaker when I went back to what I used to do in court: master the material, organize it, then throw the text away and just talk. … now when I deliver an idea, I feel that I’m communicating more honestly because I’m not reading from a script, but conveying my real feelings directly”.
He then adds a Leader needs to communicate Strong Beliefs: “a leader must not only set direction, but communicate that direction. He usually cannot simply impose his will, and even if he could it’s not the best way to lead. He must bring people aboard, excite them about his vision, and earn their support. They in turn will inspire those around them, and soon everyone will be focusing on the same goal; the effort will come from within, which always results in more forceful advocacy than if someone is just going through the motions to please their boss” (Rudolph Giuliani, Leadership, Time Warner Paperbacks p. 183-184)
Finally a Leader who acts with integrity will build valuable trust between people, setting the team-work foundation, growing the confidence to take risks, to innovate, to try the unknown and to reach great results.