Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ten Aspects of Strong Leadership: Point #5

As we continue with Chuck Lauer's list of key aspects of leadership, today I want to cover the one that I consider to be the most important.

5) Demonstrate integrity

Being a strong leader requires having a number of skills but none of these mean a thing if they are not based on a foundation of solid ethical standards. How a leader acts in this regard not only directs his or her behavior but also the behavior of all those who are faithfully following. The most dangerous combination is an inspiring and charasmatic leader who pursues an unethical path to quick gains.

Successful leaders are quick to recognize that they do influence the behavior of others who are following them. With this comes an enormous responsibility. It is not alright to say that we have to bend the ethics of the organization to survive in today's environment, or that this is what the competition is doing. Being a leader means you have to stand up for what is truly ethical and setting an example for the organization.

Throughout the years I have seen a number of leaders who posess questionable ethics. They do not all crash and burn. This is not Hollywood. In real life some of these people succeed in the business world. Keep in mind that many of them possess other strong leadership skills. But they are still not doing right for their organization or the community they serve. A few end up on the cover of Modern Healthcare in handcuffs but many other operate under the radar.

At the end of the day a leader must be able to look in the mirror and ask, "Did I do the right thing?".

More on leadership tomorrow.

Mark Brodeur

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