Warren Buffett is credited as saying that “in looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
Recently while working with a client to further develop their leadership development process, we surveyed several top leaders from a wide range of industries including Fortune 100 companies, non-profits and government entities. When we asked them what leadership qualities they looked for when recruiting and selecting future leaders, the resounding consensus echoed the sentiments of Warren Buffett’s quote.
Integrity matters more than we often think, especially at the current speed of business that requires our leaders to have high levels of competency and intelligence, as well as skills with both technology and people, often simultaneously. The value of integrity can often get lost in the shuffle of adding a new employee with the right credentials or a great sales record. However, the impact of inadequacies in those areas pales in comparison to the damage that is done to an organization when a leader crashes due to a lack of integrity.
It has been said that integrity is defined as doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
What could be more valuable to a team or organization than that?
How might your team benefit from a more intentional focus being placed on integrity?
Or perhaps…what can you do to model the value of integrity for your team?
As a final thought, it seems that the majority of the time that we hear about the impact of integrity is it the result of someone lacking it. These failures tend to dominate the narrative in the media as well as our minds as we hyper-focus on those who acted without integrity. For just a moment, allow yourself to imagine what your team would look like if instead of being worried about failing because of an integrity deficiency, the culture of your organization was anticipatory and hopeful about being caught HAVING integrity.
What might you do as a leader that could shift the thinking of those you lead to begin valuing integrity on the same level as competence, intelligence and execution?