It seems as though we have a dilemma on our hands when it comes to business these days— lack of integrity among leaders and employees alike.
According to an article by Robert H. Moorman published in the International Journal of Leadership Studies, a survey of 75,000 people around the globe asked the question, “What do you most look for and admire in a leader?” Leader honesty, which aligns with integrity, was selected more often than any other leadership characteristic.
As defined in the article, leader integrity is “both a pattern of consistency between leaders’ espoused values and their actions and also the extent to which promises are kept.” And who wouldn’t want that in a leader? Many problems in a business, or even life in general, arise when someone says one thing but does another. This causes feelings of betrayal, disappointment and distrust.
The integrity of a leader is an important characteristic. It plays an integral role in whether or not people will choose to follow, believe in, commit to and perform for him or her. The article states the following:
“We believe leader integrity matters to followers because of the information it
communicates to followers that may help them deal with the inherent uncertainty of follower
decisions. The uncertainty management model for procedural justice suggests that procedural
justice is important because it serves as a proxy in place of clear information about the fairness
of outcomes. We believe that leader integrity attributions also serve as a useful substitute for
elusive information about the results of a leadership effort. When followers must make a
prediction about what a leader will do, an attribution of leader integrity will help them feel much
more comfortable relying on the leader’s words to predict his or her actions and believing that
the leader will act appropriately. If follower decisions did not require predictions in the face of
uncertainty, or did not require other leaps of faith, integrity would be of much less importance.
However, because leaders ask followers to have faith and ask followers to take steps into the
unknown, attributions of leader integrity lend confidence that everything will turn out alright.”
If you were a leader, wouldn’t you want your employees to be loyal to you and accept your leadership?
As outliers, we need to apply integrity in our own lives. If we live with integrity, we will continue to gain the trust and loyalty of those surrounding us, whether they are friends, family, peers, employers or employees.