Ken Haigh leadership, productivity, and technology | about

The Leadership Equation: Truthfulness and Integrity

In the [last post][1], I discussed how good leaders maximize their influence of others through trust, competence, and vision. In this post, let’s take a closer look at trust and discuss two foundational characteristics of a good leader: truthfulness and integrity.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence, i_1 = integrity, and t = truthfulness </div> **Truthfulness** Truthfulness in a leader refers to someone who is honest and avoids falsehood. This honesty is extended to all both personally and professionally and not just those you lead. Good leaders avoid partial truth as well so not to mislead others even though they are technically accurate. Often leaders are exposed to confidential information. Truthfulness should never violate the confidence others put in you. **Why is Telling the Truth so Hard?** All reasons for lying can be categorized into selfish gain and fear. Good leaders look beyond their own selfish gain in order to speak truthfully. Good leaders also overcome their fear of what others thinks about them, fear of confrontation, and fear of taking responsibility for their own actions. **The Impact of Falsehood** * **Discovery** – The truth will be exposed eventually. It might take 13 years as in the case of Arnold, but others will find out the truth. The amount of time until discovery is often in direct proportion to the amount of scandal and how hard a leader will fall. Inversely, those you lead will likely be less forgiving. * **Credibility** – Good leaders avoid lying in the company of others. The reason is that others will always suspect they are not being told the truth even when they are being told the truth. * **Stress** – Good leaders avoid falsehood so they don’t have to keep track of the tales they tell. Keeping track of the lies requires mental energy because it is easy to forget what was said. In addition, a constant worry exists of being exposed. **Integrity** Integrity is often used synomously with honesty and truthfulness though actually has a different meaning. Truthfulness deals with what is spoken, while integrity deals with the consistency between what is spoken and one’s actions. The word “integrity” comes from the same Latin root as “integer”, a whole number. Integrity is defined as the state of being whole and undivided, internally consistent. When we refer to data integrity in software, we mean that the data is consistent without corruption. In the same way, a leader with integrity has consistency of words, actions, values, methods, and beliefs. Good leaders know what is right and what is wrong and are able to speak and act accordingly even at personal cost, all the time. As Tony Dungy tweeted: Twitter / TonyDungy: Integrity is what you do when … **The Impact of Integrity** * **Productivity** – Good leaders are consistent and as a result those that follow can predict what a leader will do. When the rules of engagement are not known, a team becomes distracted trying to understand this week’s rules. Often a team will become consumed with political gamesmanship and seeking to become the new “favorite”. * **Empowerment** – Good leaders with integrity create an environment where a commitment exists to do the right thing. Those that follow are assured that they will be supported when acting in integrity and making a difficult decision. As a result, others can act without fear of retribution. * **Confidence** – A leader’s integrity will not be shaken even in the most difficult circumstances or when the toughest decision needs to be made. Others see the confidence of a leader acting with integrity as they confront a brutal reality. Jim Collins in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t coined the Stockdale Pardox after Admiral Jim Stockdale’s experience as a POW: > “You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” (p. 13) In the next post, we will continue to look at a few more characteristics that enable the trust of others. **Your thoughts: Can you name some additional impacts of leading others with truthfulness and integrity?** I look forward to the dialog. [1]: /posts/the-leadership-equation-characteristics-of-a-good-leader/

In Leadership (integrity, Leadership, truthfulness)
comments powered by Disqus