- Integrity – 33%
- Interpersonal/Communication Skills – 28%
- Initiative – 15%
- Ability to Motivate Others – 12%
- Business Savvy – 10%
When preparing future leaders to take on greater responsibility, organizations are looking for integrity and excellent communication skills.
In a recent study conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, it was concluded that beyond technical and functional expertise, the following traits were high on an organization’s list of leadership requirements. The survey included 1,400 CFO’s from a random sample of US companies with 20 or more employees.
Pay attention to any form of business news and it will quickly confirm that integrity in business is becoming a lost art. Companies want quick fixes, fast money, and magic bullets. Companies are not spending the necessary time to create and maintain cultures of integrity, values, and processes, or making the right decisions for the right reasons. Lack of corporate integrity has been the documented cause of organizational demise, severe embarrassment, and financial loss many times within the last fifteen years.
The examples start with the avalanche of accounting scandals in 2001 and 2002, which included the Enron debacle and companies such as Tyco, Arthur Anderson, and Kmart. Forbes magazine created a Corporate Scandal Sheetlisting just accounting imbroglios like the companies listed above. The list was published on August 26, 2002 and sadly is quite long. In the last few years, we have seen similar challenges in the financial and mortgage world with AIG, Goldman Sachs, Freddie, and Fannie.
Corporate integrity is not a choice, nor should it be implemented for shear convenience. Integrity is the concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness.
Fast Company conducted a study with the objective being to gather perceptions about specific characteristics of leaders. 95% of respondents said “yes” or “absolutely” when asked. Do the ethics of the CEO play a meaningful role in the way business gets done? Respondents go on to say “Good ethics is also good business. It builds the brand, draws customers, and saves money in the long run.” (Fast Track Leadership Survey August 2005)
Organizations must take the time to define their core values. Clearly defined core values create a sense of unity and help the company steer all of their resources in a focused and meaningful direction. It is the spirit that drives the company regardless of its industry or size and helps the organization make appropriate decisions in tough times. Core values provide answers to tough questions and act as a guiding light in situations of conflict. Leaders with integrity must have an unwavering commitment to the organization’s core values and they must be willing to defend them.
There are no quick fixes, or magic bullets. Money needs to be earned. Show your external and internal customers, as well as all of your stakeholders, that your organization stands for something and that it has self-imposed rules that guide all decisions.
Leading with integrity sends a powerful message to employees.
Your leadership by example is critical to creating an environment and culture of integrity throughout the entire organization.
Integrity really does matter!
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.