“Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers,” Napoleon Hill wrote in his 1937 book on success, “Think and Grow Rich.”
Leaders who live with integrity inspire their followers to adopt their own ideals, which makes them more willing to support their vision.
True integrity is not paraded about for others to admire, but is shown through small actions and behaviors. Quora users discussed how to spot these qualities in the popular thread: “What is the single most revealing thing about any person?“
We’ve highlighted the best answers and added some of our own insight. Here are nine subtle, yet revealing things that people with integrity do:
1. They support the team, even under pressure.
“It is when we are under pressure that our true colors come out,” says Jill Uchiyama. It is natural to want to fall back on your ego when dealing with a period of increased stress and challenge. Great leaders are able to set aside selfish impulses and do what will benefit their entire team.
2. They take responsibility for their problems.
Bin Luo shares a quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.”
For example, if an entrepreneur’s startup falls apart before it can become profitable, they can become angry at the market, their employees, or their investors, blaming the failure on everyone and everything but themselves. The best leaders do not become angry with themselves to the point of self-destruction, but rather get to a point where they can accept their mistakes and learn from them.
3. They help others without expecting something in return.
Someone with true integrity does not place their own desires above all else, says Becky Lee. Successful people know that doing a good deed for someone else often compels that person to want to reciprocate, which can be a great networking strategy. But a person with true integrity helps others when it is the right thing to do, and having it reciprocated is just a pleasant side effect.
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