Integrity Leadership

By Zig Ziglar

It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one. A classic example involving integrity is one displayed by Steuben, the manufacturers of crystal. For generations they’ve had a policy of breaking every imperfect piece of crystal, no matter how small the flaw.

Needless to say, this is a potent symbolic act, to both employees and customers. By the same token, genuine leaders must resolve to uphold their standards and values and act as role models for everyone in the organization. If leaders don’t place values on a pedestal and defend them against attack, who will?

A person of integrity will make many of his or her decisions in advance. They are guided by principles and decisions that are made not for each individual situation, but according to principle.

When values are well established within an organization, when those countless occasions arise where there has been no specific prior example, the integrity principle will lead to an integrity decision. This enables the organization to avoid serious pitfalls.

Leaders with integrity know they are not infallible, so when they make the inevitable mistakes they acknowledge their errors and immediately make amends. In other words, they are big enough to admit their shortcomings and wise enough to right their wrongs as quickly as possible.

In his books and speeches, former Notre Dame head football coach Lou Holtz regularly admonishes people to “do the right thing.” When you do the right thing, even if the results are not good, your integrity remains intact; and your followers’ confidence in you is not irreparably damaged, because they know you are a person of integrity.

… Adapted from Zig’s popular book Staying Up, Up, Up In A Down, Down World.