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Make Integrity One of Your Top Leadership Attributes

During the development of your leadership practice, you'll have the opportunity to discover and strengthen many different attributes. For example, you may want to dive in and improve your focus while working on projects, develop your ability to work a room, or practice speaking to become a better orator.

These are all worthwhile efforts. Any of these skills can contribute to your team's success. Strong focus can help your team perform to higher standards, your interpersonal skills can help you make important connections and your public appearances can help you keep your organization on track.

Why Integrity Is Important 

These skills are going to propel you to greater success, but only if you have a team that wants to follow you. That's why integrity is such an important attribute for you to have as a leader. It lets you gain people's trust — and then keep it. In short, it is one of the foundations of leadership. 

The bottom line is, you're going to need people to trust you enough to follow you. In the words of John C. Maxwell, "He that thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk." 

How You Can Practice Integrity

You can start practicing integrity by focusing on your principles. These ideas define what's right — what's best for the success of your group. If you're just starting up at this stage, you'll want to set up rules for your organization to follow. You've already defined your vision, now you need to create a culture that gets you closer to realizing it. 

You should define your core principles, incorporate them into your company culture and use them to help you succeed. When you're good at working with integrity, you'll be able to show everyone in your organization how and why to embody these principles. When you're great at it, you'll inspire them to practice it themselves.

Getting better at practicing integrity is simple - it comes down to having to walk the talk. Like almost everything in leadership, it's a commitment. It's something you do every time you make a choice.

When Integrity Can Help

Part of most companies' issues with camaraderie, morale and many other key performance influencers can often be addressed by focusing on integrity at the leadership level. Sometimes, this simply means you and your top-level team need to start walking the talk of your culture. Some of your company's cultural guidelines might also need to change to fit better with your vision of success.

Regardless of the other leadership attributes you work on, make integrity one of your top priorities. Next time you have a choice to make, ask yourself: Are you are doing the right thing, considering the vision and culture of your company? If the answer is yes, then you're on the right track — you're leading with integrity.

LeadershipPhil Gafka