integrity leadership

As a cadet at West Point, part of the 47-month training requirement was to take the leadership raw material that we showed up with and increase it. The goal was to turn out a better person than the one who showed up; one who was to be a “leader of character.” I’ve pushed these same ideas when teaching upcoming senior executives at the Graduate School USA. In my mind, there is no such thing as a leader who lacks integrity, is lacking in the area of intelligence or is incapable of inspiring great achievement.


integrity leadershipPerception of a Leader:

  1. People want to know that, in a pinch, they can count on their leader to act in accordance with a predictable set of standards.
  2. People won’t trust you simply because you’re being paid to lead them. As a matter of fact, in today’s world, they’re likely to distrust you because you’re in authority. It takes more. They need to see consistent demonstration of your standards.

Two methods of demonstrating character:
Start by assuming that people will think you are a little dishonest and work to display your integrity by:  

  • gently calling others out when they demonstrate a lack of integrity;
  • publically admitting your personal failures.

As a leader, it is my responsibility to remember that integrity is one of the things I’m trying to teach my followers. That means when I experience their lack of integrity, I have to make that on-the-spot correction. If I don’t call out their lack of integrity each time, it represents a lack of integrity on my part.

It also means I must be willing to point out my own shortfalls. I use self-deprecating humor to poke fun at myself in front of audiences. I come right out and admit that something I tried did not work. I’m demonstrating that I’m not willing to take the easy way out just to maintain my position. It also shows that I’m willing to take chances and live with the consequences. It causes others to be more proactive and take risks themselves.

Followers will trust and follow a leader who actively displays honesty and integrity, above reproach. To book Art as a speaker or executive coach, click here.

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Art Jackson, Professional Speaker, Executive Coach

Art Jackson

Art Jackson is a professional speaker and executive coach. He is a recognized expert in the areas of leadership, performance improvement and interpersonal skills.

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