Integrity & Leadership Essay

Integrity is one of the most important qualities of the effective leader. Integrity assumes good coordination between values, actions, principles and methods. Integrity helps to reach good results regardless of any circumstances. Integrity also assumes high moral and ethical standards. Integrity assumes high level of trust, since all words, actions and directions are coordinated.  Integrity in leader’s behavior helps him to choose the best behavior and right set of actions in any situation. Integrity gives an inner feeling of right and wrong, and high moral standards help the person to take right decisions.  Integrity also means that the leader  follows rules and regulations he or she develops for the employees. Only in this case employees feel that they are treated fairly and their leader follows his own demands. Lies, double standards, hypocrisy and other ways when rules are broken ruin trust and give employees reason to use this kind of behavior.

Consistency, credibility and reliability are the main characteristics of the integral behavior. Integrity can be manifested though different actions, but usually it has certain characteristics, such as personal growth, good relations with other people, reliability, accountability, trustworthiness, responsibility, respect for needs of other people, transparency and sincerity.  Leaders who stay on strong moral and ethical ideas always look for ways for personal growth and development.  In addition, they are ready to ask for help and guidelines from qualified professionals in the case when it is necessary. Integrity leaders never say lies and always keep their promises. They respect other people, their personal space and they never use brutal methods, such as lies, manipulation, and pressure.  The leader who practices integrity always keeps promises, even in the cases when it can cause them certain inconveniences.

Integrity leaders are reliable people, who never betray other people’s expectations. Other people can count on them in different situations.  Reliable leaders are not afraid of responsibility. When they meet any kind of problem, they do not try to escape it by any means, but rather make everything possible to resolve it. In addition, integrity leaders always try to resolve problems in a way which will be maximum beneficial for all participants of the process. They try to create win-win situation during their interaction with other people.

Abraham Lincoln, the US president who definitely had the quality of integrity said “Great leadership is a product of great character. And that is why character matters”. By these words he underlines the importance of personal qualities and moral and ethical values. Leadership qualities will be useless if the leader does not present a perfect example of moral, ethical and humanistic behavior.

Del Suggs in his article named Leading with Integrity describes his vision of the integral leadership. As he points out: “There is a theory of leadership known as “servant leadership.” I like the term “custodial leadership.” It means striving to be the best caretaker, the best guardian, and the best keeper and protector you can be for those you lead. Servant leaders, or custodial leaders, govern with integrity. It comes from intrinsic core values, and a cognizant choice of service over self-interest” (Suggs). At this point there raises the question of the moral foundation of the leadership. True leaders are those, who want to take care of other people. True leaders are not those, who want to give order and suppress other people, but rather those, who are ready to make sacrifice for the sake of others.

High-integrity leaders are ready to take responsibility of their actions. In the case of fallacies, they don’t blame others. They are ready to meet the results of their actions. In addition, they are ready to divide responsibilities and problems with their employees.  Employees feel safe and protected when they work with such kind of leader.

 Responsiveness and compassion are important characteristics of a good leader. The good leader should care about people. He should feel responsible for them. In general, the main goal of leadership should be taking care of people and making their life better. Leadership is not the way to fulfill one’s ambitions, but rather the way to do something for other people.

Respectfulness is a necessary component of the integrity. Only respect for others can become a basis of healthy and productive relations. People, who do not listen to other people and who are not ready to put effort in the development of relations cannot become good leaders. Leaders should possess ability to find common ground with different categories of people.

Lieutenant Jimmy Cross from O’Brian’s novel The Things They Carried does not provide the picture of an effective leader. He fails to give clear instructions to his subordinates. Cross is depicted as weak leader, who was trained to follow instructions and fulfill routine operations. Reality of war makes his skills useless  The war demands  quick and responsible decisions, but Lt. Cross cannot fulfill this role. He lacks integrity. In extreme situations he cannot distinguish right set of actions. In addition, he distances himself from other soldiers. He wants to save his authority this way, but real authority can be gained only through decent deeds. Lt. Cross does not become a moral leader for his soldiers. This happens because he does not possess personal qualities, such as responsibility and integrity which make a true leader.  Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is only a formal leader. His authority is not proved by his actions and his personal characteristics.

Robert  from the novel Cathedral by Raymond Craver, presents another type of  leader. Robert takes part in the lives of other people and transforms them.  Despite his blindness, Robert manages to see things other people don’t notice. He has inner feeling of good and bad and this feeling helps him choose right actions.  Robert changes lives of both,  the Narrator and his ex-wife.  His help is not obvious, but the effect of this help is somewhat mystical. He presents the type of integrity leader, who makes his own life a real example of right behavior and right choices. He presents the type of leader who directs people without enforcement. He creates special conditions, where people can grow and become mature. Robert presents a kind of leader who puts interests of others on the first place, and this makes him a natural leader, despite the type of relations he has with other people. 

Comparing the characters of Robert and Lt. Jimmy Cross, it is possible to point out that Lt. Jimmy Cross possesses a formal power, but this power is not realized through his actions and behavior. Robert vice versa, does not have a formal power over people he meets. Despite this fact, he becomes the leader, who directs their actions and helps people go through positive changes and transformations.

Integrity is an important characteristics of the good leader. Integrity underlines all other positive characteristics.  Integrity combines a lot of characteristics, but following high moral and ethical standards are among the main ones. Integrity is inner feeling of right and wrong. It also can be described as intrinsic motivation. Leaders who possess this quality become a perfect example for their colleagues and their subordinates. Integrity leaders pay little attention to external motivation, because they are directed by their inner one.

Works Cited

Suggs, Del, Leading With Integrity. Web. 9 June, 2016. <>

Kail,  Col. Eric Leadership character: The role of integrity, The Washington Post, July 8, 2011.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: October 27, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]
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