Effective Leadership:

Managerial Leadership

Integrity – the New Leadership Story

By Jeannette Galvanek and Ed Konczal, Vital Relationships LLC. Executive Summary of the article "Integrity – the New Leadership Story." Used by permission.



Vadim Kotelnikov advice quotes

When his team fails, a true leader stays in front and takes responsibility. When his team succeeds, a true leader stays behind his team during celebrations.

Vadim Kotelnikov

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo    Business e-Coach    Innompic Games icon



Integrity means being honest, trustworthy, and reliable. Having integrity means that you live in accordance to your deepest values, you always keep your word, and you're honest with everyone.

People who operate with integrity have an underlying value system that is manifested through their behavior and consistently adhere to a clear code of conduct.

Fundamental values-based character strength and deep-rooted integrity will help you pursue your life vision and maintain strong human relationships regardless of short-terms happenings.


Integrity is one of the top leadership attributes. Leaders with integrity practice what they preach lead by example and act in accordance with their words.

They know that high trust levels between the leader and the followers never fail.

They realize that their behavior, methodologies, decisions, words, and actions, help to create the company's true values and its culture, so they do what's best for the business and treat people right.


Integrity in leaders refers also to owning up to their mistakes, as opposed to blaming their team or making excuses.



How Make Integrity Your Nature

Formulate your noble core values and let them guide your thoughts, words and deeds.

Know who you are what you stand for.

Hold yourself accountable not just to superiors but primarily to your higher self and  also to your colleagues and staff.

Have a clear vision of who you want to be. Adopt a continuous improvement attitude and do self-audit periodically to identify and remove blocks on your way to the desired integrity practice.

Firmly believe that doing the right and ethical thing is the overarching way to deal with people and to do business.

Act with Integrity. Walk your talk and lead by example. Those who operate with integrity consistently adhere to a code of conduct and have an underlying value system that is manifested through their behavior.


Lead with Integrity




Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having unshakable moral principles, situated at the intersection of consistent actions and strong values. In other words, it’s a quality of people who do the right thing at all times, even when no one is looking, and especially when it is difficult to do so.

In a survey of over 3,000 employees and chief financial officers in 2016, integrity was highlighted by both groups as the most important attribute in a leader. Forbes states that integrity was ranked higher than other leadership qualities like fairness, decisiveness, and stability. Among employees, 75% indicated integrity is the most important attribute, while 46% of CFOs have the same views.

If you’re aspiring to be a good leader in your organization, here are four reasons why you must lead with integrity:

Build credibility
The most glaring benefit of practicing integrity in leadership is that it builds credibility with clients, investors, customers, and talented professionals. Integrity in operations entails transparency to make sure that necessary reports are filed accurately and on time, and that organizational commitments are met.

However, credibility is also derived from the personal integrity of an organization’s leaders. From a stakeholder’s point of view, Business Insider shares that personal integrity is important because people trust will you and do business with you, which means that even large and international brands are judged daily by the quality of its leaders.

Create a gateway for trust and inspiration
Leaders with integrity also do a greater job in gaining the trust of their colleagues and inspiring them to do better. Fraud specialist and ethical author Dr. Christopher Bauer argues that integrity is most crucial at the helm of any organization. Leaders need to model and actively reinforce integrity for everyone in the company to create a culture that values integrity. A previous LearnLoft post explained that you risk ruining the entire organizational culture if you do not practice this virtue. Bad leaders forget the importance of their words and can say false things or make promises they do not keep, which can crush morale and company culture.

Equip you for the challenges ahead
Part of practicing integrity is being unafraid of inconvenient or uncomfortable truths. It allows you to see the world as it really is, not as how you wish it could be, an ability that is present in the best of leaders. This refusal to compromise or to cheat will give you the courage to do what is right and will help you avoid deluding not just your stakeholders, but yourself as well.

This also means that integrity can help you continue growing and learning. Part of this awareness of and commitment to the truth is knowing how much there is left for you to learn. Menlo Coaching share that this integrity in receiving feedback is important since support without criticism is never helpful for growth. Too often, leaders lacking in integrity eventually fail because they are incapable of examining themselves and considering how they can be wrong.

Commitment to success
Lastly, practicing integrity as a leader is a commitment to success. On a personal level, it lets you hold yourself accountable not just to superiors but also to your colleagues and staff. This honesty and openness can help you learn what you can do better and fix mistakes you would never have been aware that you’ve committed. On the organizational level, integrity allows you to lead your team towards the company’s vision and goals since your moral compass will lead you there.


Sadhguru inspirational quotes

Integrity is not a bunch of value or ethics. Integrity of the coherence between how you are, how you think, and how you act.


Jack Welch advice business quotes

Let values rule. Part your company with those who don't live the values of your company.

Jack Welch


Peter Chikumba

Training leaders of Integrity that will train other leaders of integrity is what I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Peter Chikumba



Suggestions for Building Leadership Integrity

  • Integrity starts with Board of Directors who develops a statement of ethical practices and demand adherence. Anyone guilty of violating these practices must be publicly “beheaded” in a manner similar to what Jack Welch did at GE.

25 Lessons from Jack Welch

  • Senior leaders insure that these practices flow easily throughout the culture and embedded in the formal and informal company practices.

  • If you have Leader development programs, make sure the first course or seminar includes Integrity... More

12 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

  1. Unwillingness to do what they would ask another to do, when occasion demands... More

12 Effective Leadership Roles

  1. Create an inspiring vision; establish shared values; give direction and set stretch goals, and lead by example... More

Inspirational Leadership

10 Roles

  1. Motivate, inspire and energize people, recognize achievements... More


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Values-based Leadership

Inspirational Leadership

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The 4 Es of Leadership

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Three Rules for Developing Courage

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25 Lessons from Jack Welch

Strategies for Leading Breakthroughs

18 Lessons for Leaders (by Colin Powell)

30 Lessons from Konosuke Matsushita

Transformational Leadership

Becoming a Motivational Leader

You exhibit absolute honesty and integrity with everyone in everything you do. You are the kind of person others admire and respect and want to be like.

You set a standard that others aspire to. You live in truth with yourself and others so that they feel confident giving you their support and their commitment... More

6 Attributes of a Successful CEO

  1. Acting with Integrity. Those who operate with integrity consistently adhere to a code of conduct and have an underlying value system that is manifested through their behavior... More

Leadership Attributes

Selecting a New Corporate Leader: 3 Questions

Lessons from Peter Drucker

... Third: Look for integrity. A leader sets an example, especially a strong leader. He or she is someone on whom people – especially younger people – in the organization model themselves... More

Why Leaders Fail: 12 Reasons

Profile of the 21st Century Leader

While leadership is always important to corporate performance, there is a growing realization that effective leaders with integrity are absolutely crucial to successfully navigating the New Economy of the 21st Century. In addition there is also a growing realization that the characteristics of the Leader of the 21st century are dramatically different than the leader of the past, even the recent past.

Command and control is out, organizations are getting flatter, the competitive landscape is chaotic, people are looking for meaningful work, customers are in control, these and more demands are being placed on today’s leaders. Transition to the New Economy are frequently compared to movement to the Industrial Economy, the Information Economy, but the breadth of developments and changes in the New Economy are so dramatic that there is little precedent.

The real job of leaders is to inspire and create meaning and direction in the midst of drastic change and even chaos. In such a world of change and ambiguity, a new leadership style is needed. This involves the need to grasp the paradoxes inherent in the New Economy and to master the competencies required by the business environment now being created. This new leadership relies on the leader acting as an authentic and inspirational force developing effective relationships with people in the company, partners, customers, competitors and any other stakeholders

We developed a Profile of the 21st Century Leader. Through our experience and research we defined the characteristics that will be needed to lead in an increasingly changing business landscape.

This not to say that there is a definitive leadership model. Rather, we believe that leaders need to continuously adapt and change their approach as needs dictate. Leaders will need to apply these characteristics in an artful rather than a rigid scientific manner.

Leadership Integrity Guidelines

Integrity is a delicate jewel. Building integrity in leaders and their organizations takes time, continuous effort and cannot be feigned. You must feel it in your gut, in your core beliefs that being honest and trustworthy is the right business practice. If you feel that integrity is the route to financial success you are doomed to failure.

Accountability is the foundation for authentic business relationships. At least it forces the process of identifying and resolving issues. Authentic people take full and complete ownership for their lives, their choices, thoughts, feelings and actions, without blame or faultfinding.

Authentic people know their deepest values without hesitation and fulfill them in thought, word and deed. Integrity is their nature. They do not depend on their position for power. A leader with Integrity:

  • delivers their message clearly and don’t worry about revealing themselves

  • must have a clear vision of who they are and what they stand for

  • creates clear intention by knowing the right questions to ask to create clarity and commitment

  • firmly believes that doing the right and ethical thing is the overarching way to do business