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Leading with Integrity: How Effective Leaders Make Decisions

Thomas Simon

In the world of business, decision-making is a crucial part of a leader’s role. Whether it’s deciding which direction to take the company, which projects to prioritize, or how to address issues that arise, a leader’s decisions can have a significant impact on the organization and its employees. That’s why leaders need to make decisions with integrity. 

Integrity can be defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral and ethical principles. When leaders make decisions with integrity, they act by these principles, even when it may not be the easiest or most popular choice. 

A recent Gallup poll in Europe and the US. give leaders reason to worry: Only about 40% of workers in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK and 36% in the US. want and believe that the employer will “do the right thing” if they raise concerns about justice and Integrity.

In this article, we’ll explore the role of integrity in decision-making and how effective leaders can approach decision-making with integrity.

The Role of Integrity in Decision-Making

Do you know what the term integrity means? It refers to a person’s character and commitment to moral and ethical principles. When we talk about leaders having integrity, it means that they make decisions with honesty and by their values. 

Integrity plays a critical role in the decision-making process. When leaders make decisions with integrity, they are more likely to act in the best interests of the organization and its stakeholders. They are also more likely to take a long-term view of the situation, rather than making short-sighted decisions that may benefit them personally or in the short term but harm the organization in the long run.

Further, 63% of employees are business leaders worldwide who say they are trustworthy.

Honest leaders also create an environment of trust and respect within the organization, as their employees know that they can rely on them to make ethical decisions. According to research findings,  24% of employees quit their jobs because they were not trusted.

On the other hand, when leaders lack integrity, they may make decisions that are motivated by self-interest or a desire to please others rather than doing what’s best for the organization. This can lead to a lack of trust among employees and stakeholders, as well as negative consequences for the organization as a whole.

The Key Characteristics of Leaders with Integrity

Leaders who make decisions with integrity share a set of common characteristics. These include:

1. Honesty and transparency

Leaders with integrity are honest about their actions and decisions. A well-reputed company values the truth. 

They are transparent in their communication with employees and stakeholders and are open to feedback and constructive criticism.

But according to the American Psychological Association, only 52% of employees believe that employers are open and transparent. That’s too bad because a bright leader can create amazing results that benefit everyone in the organization.

2. Consistency in behavior and decision-making

Leaders with integrity are consistent in their behavior and decision-making. They do not make decisions based on personal biases or external pressures, and they are guided by their core values and principles.

3. Commitment to ethical values

Leaders with integrity are committed to ethical values such as fairness, responsibility, and accountability. They hold themselves and their employees accountable for their actions and decisions. 

More than 50% of CEOs and CFOs believe corporate culture drives productivity, performance, profitability, profitability, and growth.

4. Willingness to take responsibility for actions and decisions 

Leaders with integrity are willing to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, even when they are difficult or unpopular. They recognize that their decisions may have consequences and are willing to take ownership of those consequences.

5. Approaches to Decision-Making with Integrity

Effective leaders can approach decision-making with integrity by following these key approaches:

6. Gathering information and considering multiple perspectives

Higher education like sound knowledge of research and statistics is very helpful for leaders when making decisions. It is important to gather information from various sources and consider multiple perspectives before reaching a decision.

Effective leaders gather all the relevant information before making a decision. They consider the perspectives of all stakeholders and take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

7. Evaluating decisions based on ethical principles

Effective leaders evaluate decisions based on ethical principles such as fairness, responsibility, and accountability. They consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the broader community.

8. Maintaining open communication and transparency throughout the process

Effective leaders maintain open communication and transparency throughout the decision-making process. They keep all stakeholders informed of the progress and outcomes of the decision-making process, and they are open to feedback and constructive criticism.

9. Being willing to admit mistakes and take corrective action when necessary

Effective leaders are willing to admit when they have made a mistake and take corrective action. They recognize that mistakes are an opportunity for learning and growth, and they take steps to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

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Real-World Examples of Leaders with Integrity

There are many real-world examples of leaders who have demonstrated integrity in decision-making. For example, in 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill suffered a major food safety crisis that led to a drop in sales and public trust. The company’s founder and CEO, Steve Ells, responded by taking full responsibility for the crisis and implementing a comprehensive food safety program. He also committed to making changes in the company’s supply chain and ensuring that food safety was a top priority. By demonstrating integrity and a commitment to ethical values, Ells was able to restore public trust and turn the company around.

Another example of a leader who demonstrated integrity is Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford Motor Company. When he took over as CEO in 2006, the company was struggling financially and losing market share to competitors. Mulally responded by implementing a bold restructuring plan that involved closing factories, laying off employees, and streamlining the company’s product line. He also prioritized innovation and sustainability and introduced new models like the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Through his commitment to ethical values and a long-term view, Mulally was able to turn Ford around and make it a profitable and sustainable company.

The high-performance tool is used with a scorecard with a weight of 30% for financial results, a weight of 50% for performance, and a weight of 20% for sustainability, which is why it is divided from economic development. In many organizations, sustainable development efforts include anti-corruption and new strategies for compliance and ethical practices.

The Impact Of Integrity On Employee Satisfaction And Company Culture

Leaders who make decisions with integrity not only benefit their organizations but also create a positive impact on employee satisfaction and company culture. When employees see their leaders acting with integrity and committing to ethical values, they are more likely to feel a sense of trust and loyalty to the organization. This can lead to higher employee engagement, lower turnover rates, and a more positive company culture. Surprisingly, 95% of respondents said integrity is one of their organizational values.

On the other hand, when leaders lack integrity, employees may become disillusioned and lose faith in the organization. This can lead to low employee morale, high turnover rates, and negative company culture.


In conclusion, integrity is a critical component of effective leadership and decision-making. When leaders make decisions with integrity, they act in the best interests of their organizations and stakeholders and create a positive impact on employee satisfaction and company culture. By following the key characteristics and approaches to decision-making with integrity, leaders can make better decisions, create a more positive impact on their organizations, and set an example for others to follow. As a leader, it’s important to prioritize integrity in your decision-making process and commit to ethical values for the benefit of your organization, employees, and the broader community.

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