The most important quality of leadership is integrity, understood as honesty, strength of character, and courage.
Without integrity there is no trust, the number one element in the leader-follower equation. Integrity leads to trust, and trust leads to respect, loyalty, and ultimately, action. It is trust coming from integrity that is needed for leading people form the boardroom, to the shop floor, to the battlefield. A model of integrity was George Washington, about whom it was written:
Endowed by nature with a sound judgment, and an accurate discriminating mind, he was guided by an unvarying sense of moral right, which would tolerate the employment only of those means that would bear the most rigid examination, by a fairness of intention which is neither sought nor required disguise, and by a purity of virtue which was not only untainted but unsuspected.
As a leader, ask, Do my people trust me? Do they know that I seek the truth and that I am true to my word? Do they see that I possess strength of character and courage of my convictions?
“Integrity” concludes this series on leadership qualities. If you missed any of the previous posts, check out the introductory post for the series and you can find links to all the different posts! I hope you were all able to pull something from this series and think about the different qualities that leaders should strive to have and how you can try to reach them all yourselves!