Brad Ezard featured in Government of Canada Leadership Themes Publication on Integrity in the Workplace.
Integrity is one of the many traits that makes up a good leader. In this interview with the Government of Canada, Brad breaks down what Integrity means to him and in the workplace.
How do you define leadership integrity?
Integrity in leadership is about having the wherewithal of character to hold yourself accountable to achieving the company’s strategic goals, staunchly upholding the organization’s values, all without losing sight of your own. I believe these ideals are the two most important things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness and integrity of a leader. Do they make themselves accountable to achieving the company’s goals, and while in pursuit of these goals, are they resolute in staying true to their personal principles?
What is the importance and role of integrity as a leader?
To say that integrity is paramount in leadership is an understatement. Simply ‘looking the part’, in the traditional sense, or having a senior job title alone, really doesn’t carry much weight in a modern marketplace.
What teams and employees need from leaders is proof that the positive qualities projected on the outside are surpassed by what is realized on the inside. Integrity should be at the core of a leader’s value set and serve as the compass with which they chart the organization’s course and make decisions.
Although leaders undoubtedly have different strengths—whether it be extensive experience, subject matter expertise, work ethic, or charisma—one universal characteristic that I see in great leaders is the ability to be so much more than a title. It’s about embodying the organization’s values while remaining loyal to your own.
What are some strategies or tips you have for developing your integrity and character?
Self-awareness is one of the most important factors in developing character and integrity. Just as businesses should take an iterative approach to culture and growth, leaders who want to adapt and grow must constantly reflect on the impact that they have on those around them. This allows them to understand how they can further develop.
Whether through working with an executive coach, meeting with mentors, or seeking 360-degree feedback from peers, integrity in business certainly can be cultivated, to ultimately become entrenched within a leader’s core value set. I’m a big advocate for professional development at all levels, but especially for leaders. We hear it time and time again from our clients that the new leaders in their organizations benefit so significantly from integrity and character-based professional coaching.
If I am able to give one piece of advice, it would be to treat any training and development, especially around integrity and character, with intention – the intention to look inward and continually assess your decision-making process and values, so that in times of uncertainty or challenge, your integrity can help guide you and your organization more confidently.
How can integrity be demonstrated in the workplace?
Integrity can be demonstrated in different ways depending on the size and scale of the organization and can also be shown differently across varied situations. In a small company for instance, integrity can be seen in a leader’s commitment to keeping their word or in their open and transparent communication with employees. In large complex organizations, leaders can demonstrate their integrity by choosing to remain true to their values over chasing higher profits or results.
Often, in large organizations, the pressure that management feel from superiors, employees, clients, stakeholders, and partners can be immense. Where strong and mature leaders are able to show their integrity is in situations where pleasing everyone is simply not feasible. Making tough decisions is at the core of what leaders are responsible. In my experience, having the integrity to stand behind decisions and focus on values is what distinguishes many great leaders.