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Leading By Principle

November 16, 2009

A recent entrepreneur said to me, “I’m having a hard time keeping up with the promises I’m making to my clients. I feel like I’m failing to lead on integrity and principle. Do you have suggestions on how to be a better leader?”

I told this individual, whether you are a leader of a business, community organization, athletic team or non-for-profit agency, you must lead with integrity and principle. It doesn’t matter if you are making guarantees to individuals who are clients, associates, players or board members,  what matters is you deliver on what you promise.

It’s not always easy to carry out guarantees when there is internal or external pressure. But the sign of a strong leader is standing by promises and following through no matter how hard the situation gets. In the end, an organization’s reputation depends on the integrity of its leader.

Bottom line, this leader shouldn’t make any more promises she can’t keep. She needs to take a long hard look at the decisions she has made and the issues that caused the lack of commitment and see if there is a trend.  By establishing new policies to address the issues and absolutely abiding by them, she will slowly regain her reputation. It might take time but at least she’ll be heading in a new direction.

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