What’s the No. 1 sought-after quality in a job candidate? If you’re a business titan like famed investor Warren Buffet, it isn’t who you know, what you know, or even how competent you are in what you do. Instead, Buffet says he looks for trustworthiness and reliability in future leaders. Integrity, he says, matters most.
“We look for three things when we hire people,” he told Inc. Magazine in February 2020. “We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”
Buffet isn’t alone in valuing integrity above all other leadership characteristics. A survey by management consulting agency Robert Half International found three-quarters of U.S. employees ranked integrity as the most important attribute in a corporate leader. Chief executives in the survey also named integrity as a prized leadership characteristic. Research by Edelman, a global communication firm that has tracked the public’s views of business organizations, government, and media for more than 20 years, showed that integrity remains the top means of earning public trust worldwide.
Integrity acts as a strong barometer of trust in personal relationships, too. Relationship experts at the Gottman Institute point to personal integrity as a must-have for healthy human connections.
Integrity Earns Trust
Integrity is commonly thought of as doing the right thing when no one is watching — in other words, acting for the common or greater good regardless of whether that action is convenient for you or recognized by other people. It’s an expression of your personal character; it’s a quality that demonstrates your values, beliefs, and principles in full view of others, and it forms the basis of your personal and professional reputation.
People with integrity have strong moral centers; they know right from wrong and reliably come out on the right side of things. They know where they stand, and they’re not reluctant to let others know it, too. They keep their word and commitments, and they’re consistently honest, even when telling the truth or making a decision is difficult. Integrity can take courage, but it also reaps rewards: People with integrity earn the trust, admiration, and respect of others.
Integrity Is a Skill, Not a Talent
Unlike our unique natural talents,integrity is a skill that’s mastered over time — and it’s a hard master. It takes self-awareness and discipline to develop and remain faithful to the moral core on which integrity depends. Much as we try, we don’t always do the right thing. Even the most honorable people can at times fail to live up to their own high standards. Who among us hasn’t ever told a lie to avoid an uncomfortable situation, for example, or made a promise we didn’t keep?
As challenging as integrity is to achieve, people recognize and reward those who demonstrate it with their trust and allegiance. That makes integrity especially valuable to successful leaders. No matter their intelligence, aptitude, or charisma, without open displays of honesty, authenticity, and accountability, leaders will not earn the very things they need to lead: the confidence and loyalty of others. As award-winning author and speaker Zig Zigler once explained, “It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity, you will never be one.”
Check Your Integrity Quotient
Take time to review the degree to which you act with integrity. Periodically ask yourself a series of insightful questions — call it establishing your integrity quotient:
• Am I truthful, even in uncomfortable situations or ones that require me to make tough choices?
• Am I accountable for my actions? Do I accept responsibility for the things I do and say?
• Am I reliable? Do I keep my promises and honor my commitments?
• Do I consider what’s good and right for others, or do I act solely in my own self-interests?
• Am I respectful of others? Am I fair and do I make an effort to avoid being judgmental?
• Do I give credit to others when it’s due?
• Do I show kindness and caring toward others?
Rely on your honest answers to signal whether you’re measuring up to your own standards, and make a conscious effort to improve if you discover you’re missing the mark. Taking stock of your integrity will help you to affirm not only the leader you are, but the one you want to be.
A Strengths- Based approach to the 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
Last facilitated in December, it was the most popular webinar of 2019!
Starts this Friday!
What participants said:
“Thank you! I have done The 5 Levels before, but the strengths approach made it so much more meaningful to ME!” (R.M. in Tennessee)
“Thank you! Normally these courses are only for those in the corporate world. You made this fit everyone!” (M.G from Atlanta, GA)
Make sure and check the calendar for thought leader led courses being introduced in April and May. You can also click the Member Resources option under the Member Log In tab and discover other recordings and tools available on demand.
We look forward to connecting with you soon at StrongCommunities.coach. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with each of you and your loved ones too.
Celebrating Your Unique Genius!