Why Is Integrity Important In Leadership?

When aspiring to be a leader of an organization, a political grouping, or even in the office workplace – the one word you can never lose focus on is Integrity. 

Sounds a tad Machiveliam, right? And ironically, Integrity can be a double-edged sword, one that is more apt to cut you rather than your opponent. And that’s why it makes sense to ponder the query, “Why is integrity important in leadership?“.

Integrity is often all you have left to make you a new person. And it is only by showcasing your Integrity that you can hope to aspire, impress and influence others. 

To better understand the pivotal importance that “integrity” often plays in leadership, it is better to ask yourself the oft-asked query, “why is integrity important in leadership?“. Better yet, check out the detailed op-ed, and it should clue you in as to why Integrity matters.

  • Does Integrity matter?

Integrity is neither a dress you can purchase at the department store nor a crash course to enroll in. The term ‘Integrity’ stands for the whole, or complete – one that provides everyone with what they are dealing with and why it matters. 

For example, let’s say you have just formed an organization and are looking to hire more than 100 employees. And your first intention would be to pick someone who emails you that they are the right person for the job.

Integrity (either it is something you have or don’t) is what defines you as a person. Moreover, this Integrity can impact others to the point where they are impressed by your steadfast principles and authenticity. 

That sounds like a spiel. But not when you consider that of all the political parties, companies, and organizations that exist today, only less than 20% have any integrity left. 

What is shocking is despite lacking Integrity in leadership, it does not seem to have stopped these companies and organizations from claiming the opposite until “they are blue in the face.”

  • Why is Integrity such a vital leadership attribute?

Leaders are not made but created. It all comes down to how these leaders stand apart from others, from those with tall promises to dubious claims about elections being a fraud, such as Trump (US), Bolsonaro (Brazil), etc. 

Now, such leaders can often be found to have a considerable following, especially those impressed with all the show, lights, and glamor. But when you take apart the glamor, all that’s left is an empty shell.

That’s why you need Integrity as a critical attribute when you attempt to become a leader. This single attribute can set you apart from the rest of the braying mass. 

Let’s not forget people are masses who share this penchant for false promises and are, therefore, easily misled. And that is precisely why you need to be a leader with more than a fraction of Integrity, who is bound to leave them with a lasting impression.

  • Ways to uphold Integrity:

Sounds like a cakewalk, right? Nope, it is anything but that. Let’s assume you are a leader who specifically critiqued his opponents because they lacked Integrity. You made an election promise to make your nation tobacco-free despite having inked several key agreements with the big tobacco firms, granting them control of tobacco plantations for perpetuity. 

And then, you make an election promise, where you promise to do the opposite. 

Do you see the problem yet?

Think about it for a moment; it should come to you soon. Irrespective of whether you plan to run your organization or your nation with Integrity, you soon realize that your opponents were indeed right. 

When it comes to being a leader, be it of a small company or a nation that counts on tobacco as one of its revenues, you soon have to swallow the bitter pill.

While it is excellent to have Integrity as a leader, there are times when you need to realize that there are times when you have to bend your values and principles. 

As in the above example, if your nation depends on income generated mainly by cigarettes, any action from banning these products to outlawing them will have regrettable consequences. 

There may come times when you have to bend your principles for the greater good. Integrity is indeed a firm attribute to have, but it alone does not help to run your nation, nor does it feed your population. 

And that is why it is better to have viable and healthier alternatives before taking any affirmative action against tobacco plantations or their products. A true leader with Integrity is like a rare bird that is hard to spot and still harder to believe once it has been spotted.

Integrity is indeed remarkable in every sense of the word. Since time immemorial, leaders of all sorts have made the tall claim to have Integrity, but in reality, very few, only a handful, ever did. 

As you can see, this is why Integrity is a crucial attribute in leadership. Only some can do it without – yet you may find that attribute decidedly lacking among your current pool of modern leaders.