Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 15, 2016

Steer clear of integrity ‘traps’


As leaders, we must operate at the highest level of integrity. If we don’t, we risk damaging not only our own reputations but those of our employees and organizations.

“Every leader has the responsibility to hone his or her integrity,” writes emotional intelligence expert Travis Bradberry in a recent post. His article explains several “integrity traps” that can “catch well-meaning leaders off guard.” Such traps include:

  1. Fostering a cult of personality. It’s easy to get caught up in your own point of view as the organization’s leader. We can’t forget that we are in a leadership position to serve others, not just to have things our way.
  2. Dodging accountability. “The very best leaders take the blame but share the credit,” Bradberry writes.
  3. Lacking self-awareness. This comes down to emotional intelligence, Bradberry writes, and the importance of trying to see ourselves as others see us.
  4. Forgetting that communication is a two-way street. Leaders that only communicate in one direction, or those that don’t set goals or provide context for the tasks they ask others to do, are not very good communicators.
  5. Micromanaging. “An important part of a leader’s integrity rests in giving people the freedom to do their jobs,” Bradberry explains.

Bradberry mentions a couple other “traps” here.

The items on this list, while damaging, are all fixable. We just need to be aware of these traps and learn how to avoid them. Any others “traps” you’ve noticed that can call into question a leader’s integrity? Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).