This research from the Institute of Leadership and Management showed that while 83% of leaders say their organizations have value statements, only 38% consider they are closely aligned with those statements. 63% of people surveyed did not agree. That’s a huge disconnect.  What is it that is missing for these people?   It is the absence of evidence that organisations are leading with integrity.

What Is Integrity?

Often when I ask people about integrity, they find it difficult to define and articulate the components.  Much like leadership itself, there are different perspectives involved depending on the person defining it.   However, for me, integrity, in the context of leadership, embodies a steadfast commitment to reaching for inner guidance and acting out of love and kindness for all involved.  It’s about being true to oneself and removing the ego from the equation.   Integrity guides actions and decisions with honesty and transparency. Leading with integrity entails aligning one’s behaviour with core values and beliefs. This alignment is demonstrated even when faced with challenges or temptations to compromise.

What Is Higher Self Leadership?

Higher self leadership refers to a state of guiding and directing oneself from a level of consciousness that transcends ego-driven desires and limitations. It involves tapping into one’s inner wisdom, intuition, and highest potential to make decisions and take actions that are aligned with one’s core values, purpose, and authenticity.  For me, without acting from your higher self, integrity is simply missing.

Integrity Results When Leading From Your Higher Self

Leading with integrity from one’s higher self is synonymous with aligning actions and decisions with deeply held values and principles. Leaders cannot help but act from integrity when they are tapping into their higher selves and listening and acting on their intuition.  When leaders operate from this elevated state of consciousness, they prioritise honesty, authenticity, and ethical conduct. Integrity becomes the guiding light that steers their leadership journey, transcending ego-driven agendas and self-interest.

People just know instinctively when leaders or colleagues are acting from a connection with their higher self.  They may not be able to articulate it, but on a level, it resonates deeply with their inner guidance.   Because the higher self is where we are connected, where universal wisdom flows, we cannot fail to recognise it, albeit often not on a conscious level.

By embodying integrity connected to their higher self in their leadership approach, individuals inspire trust, respect, and positive influence within their teams and organizations. This elevated form of leadership fosters a culture of transparency, accountability, and responsibility, ultimately leading to sustainable success and meaningful impact.

Integrity – The Bedrock of Effective Leadership

Integrity serves as the bedrock of effective leadership, especially when guiding others. It’s the cornerstone upon which trust and credibility are built within teams. When leaders uphold integrity, they create an environment where team members feel secure and valued. This sense of trust fosters open communication, collaboration, and innovation, driving the organization forward.

Moreover, leaders who embody integrity inspire confidence and loyalty among their team members, cultivating a positive work culture where everyone feels respected and appreciated. By setting a high standard of integrity, leaders not only influence behaviour within their teams by clearly demonstrating who they are but also contribute to a broader culture of ethics and accountability throughout the organisation.

The Brain and Integrity

When we act in integrity, neurotransmitters like dopamine are released, creating feelings of reward and satisfaction. Dopamine is often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter and plays a role in reinforcing behaviours that align with our values and principles.

Moreover, acting with integrity promotes positive social interactions and trust. Research suggests that when individuals behave in ways that are consistent with their values, they are perceived as more trustworthy and reliable by others.  This perception activates brain regions associated with social bonding and connection, such as the amygdala and the insula, further strengthening social relationships and fostering a sense of belonging.

Overall, acting with integrity not only aligns with our values but also leads to positive neurological responses and enhances social connections, contributing to overall well-being and fulfilment.

It all starts with the leader

If the leader can’t walk the talk on values, honesty and acting for the greater good, it often does not matter what the rest of the team is doing. It is the leader who sets the tone.

One of the problems highlighted in the research mentioned earlier was that there was much confusion about what ethical behaviour constituted. In my own experience, I have seen leaders lose the trust and respect of their employees when they have overstepped the boundaries not only of their value statements but also when they have failed to display the following behaviours. It is in these situations when leading with integrity is absent.

1. Failing to Keep Promises

Leaders failing to uphold their promises due to procrastination or negligence significantly damages trust and morale within the team. When leaders fail to follow through on commitments, it creates a sense of disappointment, frustration, and disillusionment among team members. Moreover, it undermines the credibility and integrity of leadership, leading to a breakdown in communication and collaboration. Ultimately, the failure to keep promises erodes the foundation of trust upon which effective teamwork and productivity rely. To maintain trust and respect, leaders must prioritise accountability and ensure they honour their commitments promptly and consistently.

2. Making Biased Decisions

Allowing exceptions or making biased decisions undermines fairness, trust, and respect within the team. When leaders demonstrate favouritism or inconsistency in decision-making, it breeds resentment, disillusionment, and a sense of injustice among team members. Moreover, it erodes the credibility and authority of leadership, leading to a decline in employee morale and engagement. To foster a positive work environment and maintain trust, leaders must adhere to impartiality and fairness in their decision-making processes. By treating all team members equally and upholding ethical standards consistently, leaders can promote a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration.

3. Lack of Empathy and Understanding

Failing to consider the individual circumstances and well-being of employees when addressing issues or making decisions can undermine trust and morale within the team. When leaders demonstrate a lack of empathy or understanding, it creates a sense of disconnect and alienation among team members. Moreover, it can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and disengagement, ultimately impacting productivity and performance. To foster a supportive and inclusive work environment, leaders must prioritize empathy and compassion in their interactions and decision-making. By demonstrating understanding and support for their team members’ needs and concerns, leaders can build trust, loyalty, and collaboration within the team.

4. Taking Credit for Others’ Work

Claiming credit for the accomplishments of subordinates undermines trust, morale, and teamwork within the organization. When leaders fail to acknowledge the contributions of their team members, it creates feelings of resentment, demotivation, and disengagement. Moreover, it erodes trust in leadership and fosters a sense of injustice and inequality among team members. To promote a culture of recognition and appreciation, leaders must give credit where it is due and acknowledge the efforts and achievements of their team members openly and consistently. By celebrating success collectively and recognizing individual contributions, leaders can inspire loyalty, motivation, and commitment within the team.

5. Withholding Information

Failing to communicate openly and transparently with employees can undermine trust, transparency, and morale within the organization. When leaders withhold information or mislead their team members, it creates a culture of uncertainty, suspicion, and distrust. Moreover, it can lead to rumours, misunderstandings, and decreased morale, ultimately impacting productivity and engagement. To foster trust and transparency, leaders must prioritize open and honest communication with their team members. By providing regular updates, sharing relevant information, and soliciting feedback openly, leaders can build trust, alignment, and collaboration within the team.

6. Avoiding Conflict Resolution

Ignoring or avoiding conflicts within the team can create a toxic work environment, eroding trust, cohesion, and morale. When leaders fail to address conflicts promptly and effectively, it allows issues to escalate, leading to resentment, tension, and decreased productivity. Moreover, it undermines the credibility and authority of leadership, fostering a culture of avoidance and dysfunction. To promote a healthy and productive work environment, leaders must prioritize conflict resolution and communication skills. By addressing conflicts openly, respectfully, and proactively, leaders can foster trust, collaboration, and mutual respect within the team.

7. Disregarding Ethical Standards

Engaging in unethical practices or turning a blind eye to ethical violations undermines trust, integrity, and credibility within the organization. When leaders disregard ethical standards or prioritize short-term gains over long-term values, it damages the reputation and culture of the organization. Moreover, it erodes trust in leadership and fosters a culture of cynicism, apathy, and disengagement among employees. To uphold ethical standards and maintain trust, leaders must lead by example and demonstrate integrity, transparency, and accountability in their actions and decisions. By aligning behaviour with ethical principles and values, leaders can foster a culture of trust, respect, and integrity within the organization.

8. Lack of Transparency in Decision-Making

Making decisions behind closed doors or without transparency undermines trust, transparency, and accountability within the organization. When leaders fail to involve employees in decision-making processes or provide a rationale for their decisions, it creates a sense of exclusion, frustration, and mistrust. Moreover, it undermines morale and engagement, leading to decreased productivity and motivation. To promote trust and transparency, leaders must prioritize inclusive decision-making processes and communication channels. By involving employees in decision-making, soliciting feedback, and providing transparency into the rationale behind decisions, leaders can build trust, alignment, and commitment within the organization.

9. Playing Favorites

Showing favouritism or bias towards certain employees undermines trust, fairness, and equality within the organization. When leaders play favourites or show preferential treatment, it creates a culture of inequality, resentment, and demotivation among team members. Moreover, it erodes trust in leadership and fosters a sense of injustice and unfairness. To promote a culture of fairness and equality, leaders must treat all employees with respect, fairness, and impartiality. By demonstrating fairness and consistency in their actions and decisions, leaders can build trust, loyalty, and engagement within the organization.

Acting With Integrity

Acting with integrity is critical for leaders to engage with their team and to get the best out of them.  The situations shown where integrity is absent are not exhaustive but there are some simple factors which demonstrate where integrity is present.   They are:

Integrity is a fundamental ethical principle that indicates honesty, consistency, and adherence to moral and ethical values. Here are ten simple factors that can indicate integrity is present in a situation:

  1. Honest Communication: Straightforward and truthful discussions, without manipulation or deceit, are a hallmark of integrity.
  2. Consistency: Actions and words are consistent over time and across different situations, reflecting stable moral principles.
  3. Accountability: Accepting responsibility for one’s actions, including admitting mistakes and taking steps to correct them.
  4. Ethical Decision Making: Choices are made based on ethical standards rather than convenience, profit, or personal gain.
  5. Respect for Others: Treat everyone with respect and fairness, regardless of their status or relationship with you.
  6. Promise Keeping: Following through on commitments and promises, demonstrating reliability and trustworthiness.
  7. Impartiality: Making decisions and acting without favouritism or bias, ensuring fairness in all actions.
  8. Confidentiality: Respecting the privacy of others and safeguarding sensitive information unless obligated to disclose it by ethical or legal standards.
  9. Humility: Acknowledging one’s limitations and being open to feedback, demonstrating a genuine understanding of one’s role and abilities.
  10. Courage: Standing up for ethical principles even when it is difficult or unpopular, showing strength in defending what one believes is right.

These factors can help determine whether integrity is a driving force behind actions in various scenarios, from personal interactions to professional decisions.

  • About the Author
  • Latest Posts

I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.

I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.