This post continues our Leadership Principles Series. If you missed the other posts, take a few minutes to read them. We have discussed courage, authenticity, and emotional intelligence.

People look to leaders for examples to follow and lives to emulate. In order to influence others effectively, leaders need integrity.

Leaders with integrity live by an internalized system of values and beliefs. Their actions, decisions, choices, and habits all conform to high personal standards. Their lives are in harmony, with congruence between their actions and values.

Leaders with integrity are honest with themselves and others. They are truthful about significant issues and truthful about things trivial or mundane, understanding that even minor distortions of truth undermine character. Their candor is evident to others.

Leaders with integrity are willing to accept the personal consequences of difficult decisions. Readily admitting their mistakes and shortcomings, they are unequivocal in taking responsibility for their choices. In a team or organization, this means shouldering the blame when things go wrong.

By establishing themselves as people of integrity, leaders enable relationships of trust with people.  Without credibility, there is no foundation for working together to achieve a common goal or purpose. Leaders align their actions and decisions with their motives, beliefs, and ideals, inspiring those who follow to action as well.

This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.