Integrity and Leadership: Does a leader need to be unethical?


As you know our first tip in the effective leadership series was “protect your integrity”. You can still receive the series by joining the email list if you have not done so already. Also we are happy to share that Developing Leaders first e-book is nearing completion. In it we will take the seven points and expand on them providing real world coaching materials and worksheets along with the content of the book. It is a first of its kind and we are excited to share it with you. It will go to (virtual) press within the next 30 days so be on the lookout for prepublication specials here at develop a leader dot com.


A new Contact


This is not the topic of the post however. Yesterday I was chatting with a consultant in south Florida. Norman Katz has the rare distinction of looking at the concept of supply chain from a very unique perspective. He has the ability to look upward from the loading dock to the C suite. He also can look laterally from your supplier to your customer. Few consultants have the perspective he brings to the consulting game. His practice amongst other things is around supply chain loss mitigation, system improvements and compliance. Not the most exciting of topics yet a critical one to a successful world class business. If you want to learn more about Norman visit his website at Norman and I discussed many things including how to generate more business leads for a service offer that is truly unique and high value.


What struck me about our conversation was a statistic he quoted. He said the Junior Achievement and Deloitte conducted a poll in 2005 and then again in 2007. In 05 teams asked whether they believed they needed to act unethically to get ahead responded with 22% agreeing. In 2007 the number jumped to 41%.


“Cheating is unnecessary”


This staggered me. Why would anyone believe that they needed to act unethically to get ahead? This is one of those times where I found myself wishing that the respondents were wordsmithing the question. It is one thing to believe you need to, it is wholly another to do so. Let us hope that the younger generations coming into leadership in our business world resist the allure of cheating and unethical behavior. It may seem necessary in the short run but can only lead to ruin. I wonder how the Enron or WorldCom boys would answer the question. Then again in the wake of scandals of board room impropriety perhaps we should not be surprised that many believe cheating is necessary. To be blunt, it is not.


Leaders do not compromise their integrity for a quick win, an edge on a promotion. True leaders know that only through long term commitment to right principles can they lead well into the future.


Protect your integrity

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