Integrity in Leadership Essay

Integrity in Leadership Essay

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Definition of Integrity

·     Since this paper deals with the idea of integrity in leadership, it is useful to start this paper defining integrity. Webster's dictionary defines integrity as "uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other values; utter sincerity, honesty and candor, avoidance of deception, expediency, or shallowness of any kind" Let us exam this definition a bit deeper. The first part of the definition talks of uncompromising adherence. This means that one would always choose the "right" path, regardless of what seems to be more appealing. Take the example of when and when not to lie. A person of integrity would always tell the truth regardless of the situation. The second part of the definition deals with what to avoid. Integrity demands complete openness always. The leader of integrity would never try to knowingly deceive his constituents at any time. The leader would always be open and honest.

Theories of Integrity

·     There are many different theories of integrity, but this draft will only discuss two. The first, Integrity of Self Interests, will deal with integrity as it pertains to a leader's best course of action for himself. The second, Integrity of Utility, will deal with integrity as it pertains to the best course for the population.

Integrity of Self Interests

·     Is it better to lie or tell the truth. Trying to analyze this question using the theory of self-interests would depend upon which choice would give the best results for the leader. This is the underlying theme for the theory of self interests. There are two basic formulas that can be used when trying to determine what is moral, and they are:

1.     We should choose the action(s) that we feel, with good reason, will benefit us more than any other choice

2.     We should choose the action(s) that are in our best interests, or that we prefer for the best perceived outcome

These two formulas can be implemented when making any decision. If you feel something will benefit you, or that you prefer one choice over another, then that choice is a choice of integrity of self interest. To illustrate this better, let us go back to the earlier example of when to lie. By applying either of these two formulas, lying can be considered moral. If lying were either in our best interests or one perceives it to result in the best outcome, than it is ...

... middle of paper ... not have to be a good leader.


There are many theories on integrity, but this draft focused on using two, the theories of self-interest and utility. These are the two theories a leader can use when trying to make an ethical decision. The constituents prefer the theory of utility because it ensures the best result for the most people. However the leader may sometimes prefer the theory of self-interests. The only relevance integrity has to leadership, is in choice. If a leader is not felt to have integrity, he is less likely to be chosen as a leader. However once in power, integrity does not really make a difference. Effectiveness does not depend on integrity. As stated earlier, Bill Clinton has been considered one of the most effective Presidents in the history of the United States, but he is not considered moral, especially after the Lewinski scandal came to light. Using the different criteria under the theories of first self-interest, then utility, one could try to answer the question of Clinton?s best course of action. In other words, using the outlined decision making processes, was it the best decision to admit the affair with Monica Lewinski to the public?

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