The Importance of Honesty and Integrity in Business

Why is integrity important in leadership?

Having honesty and integrity in the workplace is one of the most important qualities of great leadership in business and I am going to tell you why…

Integrity in Business and How it Translates to Success

Whenever I hold a strategic planning session, the first value that all the executives agree on is integrity. Leaders know that honesty and integrity are the foundations of leadership. Leaders stand up for what they believe in.

For example, Jon Huntsman, Sr. is a multibillionaire who started a chemical company from scratch and grew it into a $12 billion enterprise. His book, Winners Never Cheat, is filled with stories taken from his own experience in which he steadfastly refused to compromise his principles. Huntsman says that integrity is the reason that he has been as successful as he is.

“There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life,” he writes. “There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.”

Great Leaders Never Compromise Their Honesty and Integrity By Cheating

There are many examples of temporary winners who won by cheating. For a number of years, Enron was cited as one of America’s most innovating and daring companies. The CEO of the company knew the most important people in the country, including the President of the United States. Except that Enron’s success was built on lies, and the “winners” who headed the company are case studies in lack of integrity.

Integrity Means Doing the Right Thing Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

Leaders with integrity may not be the most famous or flashy of leaders, and they don’t care. Integrity means doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. And that’s what makes success.

Learn the specific habits shared by the most successful people and leaders on the planet in my free report The Power of Habit here.

Importance of Integrity in Giving and Keeping Promises

Leaders keep their promises. They give promises carefully, even reluctantly, but once they have given that promise, they follow through on that promise without fail. And they always tell the truth.

Jack Welch calls it “candor.” He believes that if you are afraid of candor, then you don’t have the guts to be an effective leader. You are going to surround yourself with yes people who will say what you want to hear instead of saying the truth.

Leaders With Integrity Aren’t Afraid of the Truth

Leaders with integrity is not afraid to face the truth. This is called the reality principle, or “seeing the world as it really is, not as you wish it to be.” It is perhaps the most important principle of leadership and dependent on integrity because it demands truthfulness and honesty. Many companies and organizations fail because they don’t follow the reality principle.

Integrity means telling the truth even if the truth is ugly. Better to be honest than to delude others, because then you are probably deluding yourself, too.

Leaders need to be courageous, but they also need to be open to the idea that they could be wrong. There are many leaders who eventually fail because they refuse to question their own assumptions or conclusions.

“Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure.” – Alec Mackenzie

There’s a difference between being confident and blind. Let’s face it, in today’s world of rapid change, there is a possibility that you are partially wrong or even completely wrong. Maybe you are not wrong, but just opening yourself to to that possibility is going to make you a more effective leader because it will open your mind to new ideas or new thinking.


There should be no exceptions to honesty and integrity. Integrity is a state of mind and is not situational. If you compromise your integrity in small situations with little consequence, then it becomes very easy to compromise on the small situations.

Leaders with integrity always err on the side of fairness, especially when other people are unfair. As a matter of fact, the true mark of leadership is how fair you can be when other people are treating you unfairly.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please comment below and share it with your friends. Do you have the habits of a successful leader? Click the button below to get my free report The Power of Habit.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

  • Melody

    Hi Brian, I am one of your biggest fan and followers from Kenya.thanks a lot for this article, My name is Melody and I am an Accounting Consultant, I own my own firm and I totally agree with your amazing article, I once made a promise to two of my clients and gave them exaggerated expectations, they believed and fully paid for the services. Once they paid ,I ate up all their money, and now what do I have, constant threat calls from them and have eventually lost both the clients who I attained by hard Labour plus future lost referrals. So I have learned Honesty and Integrity are some of the Basic foundations of every business. You lose by; working twice as hard to get a new client, you only eat the money off a client once and end up losing the client forever plus you lose the referrals that you would have attained from that one client.You gain thrice as much when you are honest because you end up keeping the client , you get more referrals which would have costed you more if you were to get them from your marketing ,you get constant repeated business from that client, and your credibility is built

  • kelvin kells

    Integrity in business says it all. Don’t have it and you wouldn’t have a lasting success in your business. It gives room for the wide populace to trust you and you become ever relying. What else do you need in making your business successful when the people out there rely on you? Integrity does one of the magics.

  • Lance

    Woah! Talking about Honesty and Integrity really hits on everybody’s core. These two had been a constant issue especially when you are managing your own business. If only more business leaders able to retain and value this kind of attitude.

  • Vukani Nxumalo

    This article shares an interesting side to business. It should be said that the way to successful business is neither through shortcuts or dishonesty. Thank you for an interesting read.

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