Integrity and Effective Leadership

Based out of Chicago, Leslie Pratch has served as the chief executive officer and president of Pratch & Company since 1998. At the firm, Leslie Pratch advises businesses on whether potential hires could become effective leaders. Previously, she led research into personality predictors of effective leadership among high-achieving business executives at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

In addition to guiding clients, she has written about these issues in the manuscript LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? The following excerpt considers the importance of integrity for effective leadership.

“Leaders have a particular need for a strong grounding in integrity because they must make decisions that will affect many people, and they must make choices quickly, often without the luxury of consulting with their friends and colleagues. The integrity and self-esteem I describe in this chapter are different from the ‘self-esteem’ of the narcissist, who cares only for himself and his self-interests and has little or no regard for the rights and perspectives of others. Not all forms of self-esteem are positive; an individual may score high on self-esteem on a personality test but be a criminal. Self-esteem in and of itself does not confer integrity, but an individual cannot maintain a strong moral structure without an equally strong belief in himself and his ability to make correct choices. Individuals may be highly narcissistic and demonstrate high self-confidence but their self-confidence is a defense against an underlying sense of insecurity.”

“Integrity as perceived by others means that the person consistently does what he promises and has consistently acted in the appropriate way, defined in terms of the norms of the community. All of us have at least a vague idea of what is right and what is wrong and what is appropriate and what is not. Behaving with integrity may come at a cost but persons of integrity are rewarded with high self-esteem, self-confidence, and the trust of others. Only with trust can the wheels of commerce run smoothly.”