Want To Be A Great Leader? Develop This Attribute Now
When we think about the attributes we look for in leaders, we focus on how they delegate tasks, how well they make decisions in times of uncertainty, and how great they are at inspiring others to a single cause.
However, there is an essential attribute of a leader that we tend to overlook, one that affects all of their skills, traits, and capabilities — it’s called integrity.
Integrity is often defined as “doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching”. But in this day and age, integrity is so much more than that. Integrity is also a commitment to doing what is right and sticking to that decision despite the consequences.
According to research, integrity is a key factor in building trust — and trust is important to forming healthy relationships and creating organizational success.
If we want to positively influence and gain the trust of the people who work with us, our teams and leaders, we need to practice integrity at all times.
In this article, we are going to talk about the significance of integrity in leadership, and how we can strengthen it until it becomes second-nature to us.
How Leaders with Integrity Build Trust
Data from a survey done by Robert Half Management Resources shows that people prefer to work for leaders who practice integrity because people know that these leaders will treat them well, and will do what is best for the organization.
In fact, a recent leadership values poll in Aboitiz shows that out of 230 survey participants, 150 team members value integrity first and foremost, followed by delegation and empowerment skills, and the ability to inspire others.
“If I see that my team leader lives out the value of integrity, then I will fully trust him or her, and will share his or her vision,” offers Aldwin Dumago, Apo Agua Stakeholder Relations Officer. “Otherwise, I will have second thoughts about everything he or she will ask me to do because I will always doubt his or her intentions,” he added.
How a leader lives out the value of integrity can affect how their teams relate with them. You can’t delegate tasks and inspire other people without this value.
“Integrity is a non-negotiable attribute that sets the bar in leading the organization,” says Richs Onipon, Assistant Vice President – Digital Transformation in Aboitiz. “Your integrity is your moral compass when making hard decisions. Integrity, openness, and transparency will make people trust you more because your dealings won’t be shaky and your decisions will be based on ethical standards.”
Jimbo Reverente, Aboitiz InfraCapital Vice President – External Relations, believes that integrity also precedes one’s ability to inspire others. “When we see our leaders doing the right thing even in challenging circumstances, it gives us the confidence to do the right thing ourselves, because we know our leaders would do the same,” he said.
For Lorenne Alejandrino, Manager – Brand, Creatives, and Communications in Aboitiz, integrity is the cornerstone of your values. “Integrity is vital, especially in Aboitiz, because it dictates the true north of what you are doing. If it’s not in place, then it will affect your other values,” she said.
Indeed, your integrity affects your decision-making and your ability to influence others. But how do we live out this value at all times, even if we’re not yet in a leadership position? Here are some of the ways we can develop our integrity and gain people’s trust even before we receive the title.
How to Develop and Strengthen Your Integrity
Practice Ownership and Accountability
Your boss was reviewing the latest report you sent and you found out that you put in the wrong numbers in that report. What are you going to do? Are you going to turn a blind eye and hope they don’t notice, or are you going to be honest about it — even if it may cause you to lose your job?
A strong sense of integrity will require you to immediately inform your superior about it, apologize for the lapse, own the issue, and quickly find a way to fix the damage with stakeholders.
Accountability and a sense of ownership also go hand in hand with integrity. These values push you to stop justifying yourself and to not blame others in the process. And while it may cost you your job, handling the issue the other way will do more damage to your career, your reputation, and your character. As the saying goes, “it is better to lose than to lose your integrity”.
Let people help you become more aware
Oftentimes, we may not be aware that we are not walking the talk. It is wise to build a trusted circle of friends who can give us constructive feedback if we’re doing things that can damage our character and reputation.
Just make sure that your trusted circle of friends also have a strong moral compass, have a proven track record of being honest and transparent, and want what’s best for you at all times.
Remove yourself from environments that lack moral principles
The saying goes that you are the average of the five people you spend your time with. The environment you’re in and the people you’re with have an impact on the way you think, feel, and act. These factors can also shape your values and belief system.
If you are working in an environment that neither practices nor reinforces integrity, it’s better to move to a new organization that does. Living out the value of integrity is not easy so it’s much better to be in an organization that encourages you to do the right thing, even if nobody is watching.
In Aboitiz, the core value of integrity is key to growing and sustaining the business. It starts from the top and spreads throughout the organization, thereby shaping processes, results, and company culture.
Now that Aboitiz is approaching its hundredth year, we are looking for people who are not only competent and skillful but are also guided by strong values and moral principles.