Outstanding leaders build a reputation for integrity

Tradesmen turned up this week to repair our shower right on the dot, just as they promised. When we booked them in six weeks earlier, they gave us a clear start date. They sent us a friendly reminder a week ahead and turned up as promised. And when they arrived, they explained each step of the process, answered all our questions and cleaned up after themselves. Working with such reliable professionals was a breath of fresh air. No wonder they have so many referrals and are booked solid. They have a reputation for integrity in an industry that is often maligned for playing fast and loose with promises.

But before we point the finger at others for their lack of reliability, let’s reflect on whether we operate by the same standards. Most leaders will say they honour their commitments, but as Dr Peter Fuda found, they often judge themselves by their intentions and everyone else by their actions. He says, “I’ve never met a leader who aspires to destroy shareholder value, irritate customers and alienate staff.  Yet we almost always find a significant gap between a leader’s intention and their actual impact.”

One place to look is the gap between our capacity to honour our own commitments and what we expect of those around us. It often comes as a bit of a shock when leaders discover in their executive coaching program, they are perceived as slippery with their promises. If they are not honouring the small commitments along the path to a larger aim, they will damage their reputation and credibility. No matter how well intentioned they are, failing to follow through on small promises will tarnish their stature.

A way to close the gap between how we see ourselves and how others see us is to ask your key stakeholders, ‘Do I honour my commitments?’        

Best regards, Brian