Leadership – 4th In A Series

Ed Burghard


This post shares an interesting perspective on leadership from a lecture I attended. The speaker had a unique perspective that caught my attention. He focused his remarks on the importance of integrity as a critical characteristic of a great leader.

I like this set of notes because it focuses less on defining leadership skills and more on providing a context for what great leadership looks like.

I did not write down the name of the speaker, so like the other posts I must attribute the wisdom to all the mentors and instructors I had in my career at Procter & Gamble. My hope is that sharing these notes will help you in your personal pursuit of becoming a great leader.


This blog post is the 4th in a series on the subject of leadership.  The following links will take you to the other posts.

1st in a series

2nd in a series

3rd in a series

Integrity The Foundational Characteristic

Integrity is key to successful leadership. People must be able to trust that what a leader says and have confidence that a leader has their best interest at heart. It takes years to build integrity, but it can be destroyed in minutes. Consistently delivering on commitments and dealing fairly with people develops integrity. Integrity requires a leader to have and operate by a moral or ethical code. The principles behind that code need to be transparent, and the leader’s actions must line up with their rhetoric.


Five Additional Characteristics of a Great Leader.

Clear Mind – Great leaders understand the key factors affecting a decision – people, competition, environment, etc. They take a focused approach to analyzing issues and alternatives; and make the time to explain why they choose a particular course of action.

Keen Judgment – Great leaders make decisions with the right amount of data and input. They understand the risks and are willing to take ownership of the outcomes. Great leaders do not play the “blame game”.

Humble Spirit – Great leaders have a realistic view of their abilities and personal areas of opportunity. They are not afraid to admit they do not have all the answers. Equally important, they are willing to learn from people around them and recognize the skills of their team. Great leaders give credit to others when there are successes, and take personal responsibility for failures.

Cheerful Disposition – Great leaders create a positive and collaborative working environment. They are not only “up” when things are going well, but also set a positive tone I tough times. The project a winning, positive attitude that is infectious.

Discreet Mouth – Great leaders do not seek “air time”. They say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. They attack issues and not people, and avoid talking to hear themselves speak. In addition, they stop improper discussions and rumor mongering whenever they hear it.


The above is not intended to be a comprehensive description of a leader. The list simply represents notes I took from a lecture or training course. But, I hope the concepts have the power to make you reflect on the subject, and maybe do a little introspection regarding your leadership mastery.

From the list, was there any thought that struck you as an “Ah Ha”? Did you disagree with any? Which thoughts in the above list do you feel are the most important?

Please leave a comment with your point-of-view.

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