Build a High-Integrity Workforce

Retired attorney and ethics professor Michael Josephson once wrote:

“Great leaders are principled; they are not merely effective, they are ethical. They adhere to moral principles in forming their objectives and using the methods of influence. They engender trust and credibility because of their integrity and loyalty and because they care about their followers and treat them with respect.”

I agree completely. I also believe integrity is not just a personal virtue that leaders should exemplify—they must also hold those they lead, and their entire organization, to a standard of high integrity.

In their book Leading to Ethics, authors Eric Harvey, Andy Smith, and Paul Sims write, “High-integrity workplaces don’t get that way by accident, coincidence, or luck. They’re molded, shaped, and built by leaders at all levels.”

So how do inspirational leaders mold, shape, and build a high-integrity workforce? It starts with holding integrity in high esteem. By this I mean that leaders should continually emphasize and reinforce the importance of integrity through small gestures and everyday reminders, such as:

  • Being transparent and honest, even about bad news.
  • Commending a direct report for admitting his mistake and owning a problem instead of making excuses.
  • Consistently following through on commitments—no matter how small—and thanking others for doing the same.
  • Not letting too many small infractions slide, kindly but firmly reminding workers to be on time and focus on work while at work.
  • Insisting on honesty and fairness in all dealings—with colleagues and customers alike.
  • Frequently reviewing company policies to ensure daily activities and actions are in alignment with those policy statements.

What would you add to this list? How do you promote integrity—personally, professionally, and organizationally?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

Featured posts


“Dan Nielsen is a gifted facilitator and inspiring presenter. He truly has a passion for leadership and for getting to the heart of the matter. He knows what it takes to motivate both individuals and groups and genuinely leads by the example he sets.”

Sharla K JonesVP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank


“Dan is the ultimate professional. He has exceptional relationship development and group facilitation skills. He is a keen observer and is able to offer accurate insights into business relationships.”

- Brenda Moon, Vice President Client Executive, MedAssets


“Dan is a forward thinking leader who is optimistic, collaborative and open to change. He is trusted and respected by colleagues. His speaking style is enthusiastic, confident and engaging. You know that a successful outcome will be delivered when Dan is leading the way.”

- Rick Provencher, Director Member Solutions, Amerinet


“Dan is a great communicator and inspirational speaker. His message is positive and always very motivating. I recommend Dan to help any organization optimize their employees' potential.”

- John Penhollow, Director of Corporate Accounts, Medical Action Industriesi


“Dan is a gifted leader who has the extraordinary ability to develop a strategic vision and mobilize an organization to achieve it. He operates with great integrity and character. Dan completely understands business dynamics and utilizes that understanding to optimize exceptional leadership.”

- Stacy Shillan, IV Infusion & Respiratory Services, Walgreens


“Dan has a passion for leadership and for providing the tools for others to become effective, insightful leaders.”

- Linda DeWolf, Founder, Travel Well


More Testimonials>>