5 Ways to Lead with Integrity

We all want to be a leader that acts with integrity, but oftentimes, unless we have worked with a leader that embodies this trait, it’s difficult to know what this looks like in daily practice.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leading with true integrity is one of the greatest challenges of leadership, but here are 5 ways to start.

  1. Be truthful with all stakeholders.  While there is something to be said for always staying optimistic for your team, they also have to know they can trust what you say.  This goes for all stakeholders – your boss, your colleagues, your investors, your vendors and the local community.
  2. Always hold yourself accountable.  When you are the one responsible, you must hold yourself accountable.  Accept responsibility, and never pass the blame.  This isn’t always easy, but this will set the tone for those around you.
  3. Do the right thing even when no one is looking.  At the firm I worked for in DC, everything always had to pass the Washington Post test – if you wouldn’t be proud to have your actions or decisions on the front page of the Washington Post, don’t do it.
  4. Serve your colleagues and employees.  From what I’ve seen throughout my career, being smart and talented isn’t going to be what sets you apart from others.  It is how hard you work and how you treat your colleagues and employees that will set you apart.  Always treat your coworkers with respect, and aim to be a servant leader.
  5. Do what you say you will do.  Keeping your word is the very essence of integrity.  Without it, you cannot be an effective leader.  While keeping your word can sometimes be inconvenient, expensive or difficult, not keeping your word is even more expensive. 

We must be deliberate and intentional as we strive to lead with integrity.  These five steps can help guide us in our journey to be authentic leaders.

Marie Mae Company equips professionals to make a sustainable impact through business.  We accomplish this through our ethically sourced office product line, our consulting services, and our one-for-one model of providing business school hours to women in emerging markets.  If you are looking for ways to use business as a force for good, download our free e-book here