Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leadership with Integrity Vital in Troubled Times

“Our nation has never been in greater need of strong, reliable, get-the-job-done leadership,” states organizational performance expert, Liz Bywater, PhD. In the October ’08 issue of the Bywater Journal, Dr. Bywater stresses the importance of ethical leadership in troubled times. She writes:

From the White House to the boardroom, our nation has never been in greater need of strong, reliable, get-the-job-done leadership. Faced with a financial crisis of historic proportions, an increasingly heated presidential race, and a host of domestic and international uncertainties, now is the time for our best leaders to reveal themselves.

But how are we to recognize strong leadership in trying times?

To be sure, there are many hallmarks of effective leadership. Clear and powerful vision. Sincere passion. Stellar communication skills. The ability to inspire trust, commitment, and decisive action. Not one of these, however, makes for great leadership without a solid foundation of ethics and integrity.

Now is the time for each of us to reflect upon our actions. Are we truly leading with integrity? Step back for a moment and ask yourself the following critical questions:

What are the ethical principles I hold to be most important in my personal and business dealings? Do my actions consistently reflect my commitment to these principals? Where do I draw my line in the sand?

Being an ethical leader means relying upon your internal moral compass to guide you. But herein lies the challenge. A moral compass is an intangible thing. It’s personal. It’s subjective. So how do you know whether you’re on the right track? How do you avoid being one of those leaders who, while seeming to follow sound values, is, in fact, far off course from behaving ethically?

Take stock. To be certain that you’re leading with integrity, you’ve got to regularly reflect upon your decisions and behaviors. Challenge yourself. Ask: Do I feel good about what I am saying and doing? In what situations do I struggle with unspoken pangs of conscience? What are these pangs trying to tell me? Am I really listening?

Enlist feedback. Don’t hesitate to invite honest feedback from others. Ask colleagues, friends, or family members to help you evaluate your actions. Let them be tough with you. Ask them to keep you honest and accountable. You’ll emerge from the experience a far better leader for your company and your community. And in these turbulent times, your leadership has never been more urgently needed.

Leadership with Integrity Vital in Troubled Times (The Bywater ... (press release)