A Coaching Power Tool By Barbara DeMatte, Business Coach, UNITED STATES
Integrity vs. Dishonesty. A 100-Day Commitment
Integrity is everything….
In business and in life.
Our personal and professional reputations are based on our integrity. It is based on our behaviors – not just what we say we are going to do. Integrity is a personal commitment to be consistent with our words. This is a pledge that shows our commitment to ourselves and to others. Integrity is who we are and how we are seen by others. It is about what others believe about us and what others see in us. When we behave in a way that contradicts what we say we will do, others believe our actions. Actions speak louder than words and this is our integrity
Integrity vs. Dishonesty Definitions
Let’s look at a few definitions:
in·teg·ri·ty/inˈteɡrədē/noun the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Source: Cambridge Dictionary
The quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness; entirety. Source: your dictionary.com
Integrity is a personal quality of fairness that we all aspire to — unless you’re a dishonest, immoral scoundrel, of course. source: Vocabulary.com
Integrity is being honest with ourselves first. It is not my intent to be morbid with my question: What do you want others to say about who you were after you died?
Integrity is all about our everyday actions. It is a value that anchors who we are. I respect the definition Integrity is defined as doing the right thing when no one is looking.
First, it is a promise to ourselves. Then, it is a visible promise to others
The CEO of a company who has an anti-sexual harassment policy, then, sexually harasses others and allows others to do the same.
The politician who makes promises and then, acts and votes contrary to those promises.
This is dishonesty, the opposite of integrity:
dis·hon·es·ty /disˈänəstē/ noun deceitfulness is shown in someone’s character or behavior. Source: Oxford Languages
Integrity is about how we communicate and we communicate in 3 ways:
Tone and body language 93%
The contrary behaviors to our verbal promises are labeled as dishonest, with ourselves and others
How many people would want their mourners to remember a person as dishonest?
I suggest a 100-day plan for integrity. Anyone can do anything for one hundred days
After every behavior, ask yourself, did I behave with integrity and if not, what could I have done differently? What will I do differently next time and make a written commitment to it? Daily, look at this list of commitments and celebrate those that were accomplished. Then, acknowledge the commitment that was not met and why. With what person(s) In what situations? Then, commit to a different behavior the next time that situation arises.
And do it
Coaches are to arrive at a coaching relationship in the same way. With integrity. This means:
After all, how does an individual want to be remembered?
This is being dishonest with
Integrity in everything is a value.
Integrity in coaching is a key value. It is a value that is in many lists of organizations around the world:
What Is Integrity?
in·teg·ri·ty/inˈteɡrədē/noun the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Source: Oxford Languages
Why Integrity Matters in Business
When it comes to core values, integrity is possibly the highest of all. Without integrity, there is no honesty, no truth, and no accountability. In the world of business, if you don’t have these core values, then you will lose the trust of your internal and external stakeholders. If you are an employee, then you will lose the respect and trust of your boss. Either way, when the chips are down, without integrity, you have no one in your corner.
Put in the most simple terms, integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one else is looking. If you can build your life around integrity, then you will have a stronger relationship, and deeper connections, and your peers will always trust you.
As a leader, there should be a culture of integrity built within the culture of your business. You should be the beacon of light that sets this example. It collectively enables your workforce to do the right thing. If your team cannot demonstrate trust and confidence, then your whole business loses value.
Over the years, we have seen big businesses go through disasters, the ones that have taken responsibility and admitted fault, then worked to fix the issue, always manage to save their brands. This is because the stakeholders – which includes the consumers – understand that all humans can make mistakes. Errors are part of life. It is how we deal with errors that matter. Integrity leads to accountability which leads to trust.
The difference between honesty and integrity is that while most of us would say we are open and honest in business, we may be tempted to rationalize white lies. This could be over-promising our services or tweaking what we can do to win a pitch, and it could also be overstating the value of a product. Integrity won’t allow for this, and it matters because you won’t end up putting yourself in a position where you fail to deliver. One of the most devastating things you can do to new business relationships is to over-promise and under-deliver. This is why integrity, at all times, even on the smallest of things, matters.
Employees that have this culture of integrity driven from the top will repay you in their loyalty too. Again, you might have an employee who makes a mistake. Perhaps they were caught up in an ‘operating a vehicle while under the influence (OUI) charge. If they come to you and openly admit their mistakes and show accountability, you could help their hardship license lawyer to ensure they can still get to work and won’t lose their job. If they aren’t open and honest from the start, then you may feel less inclined to help. You should always reward people if they show integrity. It is a tough thing to do. If your business is a reflection of your core values, then your employees will naturally adopt this culture of integrity.
As a leader, you should encourage your employees to speak freely. And if you are employed, then you should always feel confident to speak up. The most innovative ideas come from an environment of trust. If someone suggests something terrible, you tell them. If they come up with something good, you reward it. Your criticism should always be constructive; being brutally honest doesn’t mean you should be brutal. However, telling someone their idea is excellent, then passing it by and doing something else could leave them feeling distrusting. How will they believe you the next time you say you liked something? They will lose confidence in you and your ideas.
If you believe your team leader or your boss is wrong, a person with integrity will always raise the issue. They won’t sit quietly and nod, then allow resentment to build. You must learn how to raise concerns with your boss, constructively and respectfully. Once you have voiced your concerns, it is then up to them to do something about it. If they choose not to, then you should respect their decisions, but, they will likely have more respect for you for being able to air your concerns.
Regardless of your position within a company, integrity will ensure that you are always trusted, respected, and liked. Your opinions will always be listened to, and you will get the best out of the team you have around you. Integrity doesn’t have an on / off switch, so remember to carry this as one of your core values in your personal life too.
If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business – it’s that simple. Sir Richard Branson
Leaders are everywhere. Whether in organizations, businesses, politics, universities, or at home, they are both present and visible at all times and places. Due to our social nature, we need individuals to act as the head of our organization and take the lead. We do not live alone nor do we do well on our own. As a result, leadership arises not only as a necessity for survival but also as a purpose-centered force to propel us into prosperity.
Even though not every leader uses the same leadership style to guide an organization, it is vital for any organization’s success to be led with integrity. Peter Drucker defines integrity as “a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.”
Integrity is the key to unlocking exceptional leaders.
What Makes a Leader
The popular definition of a leader is someone who has followers. However, such a common definition does not fully resemble all of that which leadership entails. To gain followers, leaders need to have the ability to both influence and mobilize others.
Leadership takes vision and imagination. It requires a certain optimism, determination, and creativity – the sort of characteristics that inspire confidence – confidence that turns other people into followers. To become a leader, one must have the ability to clearly and forcefully articulate a vision and work towards turning that dream into reality for the common welfare. As Warren G, Bennis said, “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Leadership, however, embodies a tough and complex enterprise. The decisions a leader has to make are not always easy nor defensible, as many decisions require compromise and, sometimes, terrible decisions have to be made. To lead requires strong character, conscientiousness, deep honesty, and moral courage in order to support the achievement of strategic ambitions. Therefore, leaders ought to know who they are, in order to think without deceit.
This is the key reason why integrity is the most fundamental trait a leader shall possess – as it enables leaders to honestly measure what they can and cannot do admittedly. High self-awareness enables leaders to both recognize and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, enhancing their team’s ability to perform.
Why Integrity in Leadership Is Key
Furthermore, leaders ought to lead with integrity to instill stability and order within their organizations. Integrity enables leaders to comprehend the necessary conditions that must be established to propel their organizations into achieving their goals.
However, if an organization is led through emotions or charisma, it tends to generate alarming degrees of dependency on its leader, creating high ambiguity over the future. Without integrity, leaders might be victims of their egos ruling over themselves, self-creating catastrophic consequences for their organization. Therefore, a lack of integrity hinders a leader’s capacity to develop a nurturing and positive environment.
Integrity is the first and foremost quality leaders shall embody to fully take responsibility for their duty. If through his leadership, an ethical leader does not see himself as capable of benefiting his organization, he will not do so willingly. His uprightness will lead him to do whatever it takes to ensure the success of his organization, even if that requires him to step down.
Integrity not only allows leaders to have respect for others but also towards themselves. As a result, integral leaders can clearly distinguish what is right from what is wrong and would willingly encourage others to always choose to take the ethically and morally right path when in doubt. An organization’s ability to implement fair decisions and communicate honestly most often than not relies upon the integrity displayed by its leader on a daily basis.
Leaders who embody the quality of integrity channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company; due to the fact that their ambition is guided towards their organization, not their career. As a result, they will not only ask for help when in need but also accept the blame and take responsibility for the results of their organization. Their sense of integrity enables leaders to fully comprehend their degree of responsibility towards enhancing their organization’s ability to succeed.
How Richard Branson Shines by Displaying Integrity
Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, is a model business leader who has revolutionized the way businesses are led.
By the age of 20, Richard Branson had started a mail-order record business and by 22 he was already running a chain of record stores. Since then, he has founded a slew of companies, including Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Hotels, and Virgin Galactic.
However, his key ingredient for success relies upon his rule-breaking approach to leadership, one “which encourages every employee to become an innovative thinker, who can add value in their own way.” By establishing the right work environment and empowering his employees, Richard Branson powerfully propels his organization towards innovation and creativity, which leads his businesses to outperform their rivals and achieve a competitive advantage.
Without integrity, leaders might be victims of their egos ruling over themselves, self-creating catastrophic consequences for their organization.
Through his collaborative leadership style, Richard Branson clearly exemplifies the diverse ways in which leading with integrity boosts a leader’s ability to perform and achieve his strategic ambitions. Unlike contemporary business leaders, who are always searching for the latest trend in how to make an organization great, Richard Branson leads his businesses with the same fundamental values he grew up with.
Throughout his career, he knew he had to be true to himself in order to make his leadership truly authentic and build confidence within his followers. Richard Branson clearly understands that there is no such thing as leadership without authenticity, as they intensely complement each other: “leadership doesn’t have a secret formula; all true leaders go about things in their own way.”
What truly stands out from Richard Branson’s success, however, is the fact that he never went to college. In fact, he did not even finish high school. Suffering from dyslexia at a young age, Branson could neither keep up with his classes nor fit in. Yet, he knew he could transform his vision into reality: “my parents agreed to let me leave school on one condition: that I would do everything I could to turn my ideas into reality.”
Even though he had no formal education, Richard Branson remained loyal to his upbringing throughout the founding of his organization, as when hiring his company’s C-Suite he prioritizes candidates’ passion and commitment over and above their educational backgrounds.
Richard Branson has instilled within Virgin a culture that encourages and even celebrates failure. As an entrepreneur, he understands that without trying something new and failing at it, it’s almost impossible to innovate and grow: “do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception.”
In every aspect of the organizations he founded, Richard Branson leads authentically. He consistently guides and shapes them with the same principles and values. Richard Branson, both a visionary and an entrepreneur, serves as an ideal role model to prove the vital role integrity plays in leadership. Since early in his career, Richard Branson not only clearly understood his strengths as well as his limitations but also used both to reach higher levels of self-awareness and boost his capacity to achieve his goals.
The fact that he leads with integrity enables him to reach his potential as a business leader and influence the right kind of people to propel his vision: “what leadership boils down to is people. Whatever your style, whatever your method, you need to believe in yourself, your ideas, and your staff. Nobody can be successful alone and you cannot be a great leader without great people to lead.”
Leadership doesn’t have a secret formula, all true leaders go about things in their own way. Sir Richard Branson
Lead With Integrity
Rather than a situational or contextual factor, integrity is a state of mind that has no exceptions. It entails a powerful and honest commitment to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances. Leaders who lead with integrity are not only incorruptible but also incapable of violating the trust of those who have confided in them.
As Oprah Winfrey puts it out, “real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
Integrity is the essential quality that sets great leaders apart, as it empowers them to lead justly, build trust, and communicate authentically. By exemplifying integrity, as Richard Branson has proven, leaders can not only set the right and noble standards for their organization but also deeply connect with their people to spur energy and enthusiasm toward their shared purpose.
An organization’s ability of implementing fair decisions and communicating honestly most often than not relies upon the integrity displayed by its leader on a daily basis.
About The Author
Individual who goes on a diet and then sneaks unhealthy snacks
A person who commits to an exercise plan buys the right equipment and then uses the stationary bike as a clothes hanger
What Is the Opposite Of Integrity?
Need antonyms for integrity? Here’s a list of opposite words from our thesaurus that you can use instead.
Need antonyms for integrity? Here’s a list of opposite words from our thesaurus that you can use instead.
Opposite of the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
Opposite of the condition of being unified or sound in construction
Opposite of the quality or condition of being complete or pure
Opposite of the state of being whole and undivided
Opposite of the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles