A leader's credibility is the result of two aspects: what he or she does (competency) and who he or she is (character). A discrepancy between these two aspects creates an integrity problem.
The highest principle of leadership is integrity. When integrity ceases to be a leader's top priority, when a compromise of ethics is rationalized away as necessary for the "greater good," when achieving results becomes more important than the means to their achievement -- that is the moment when a leader steps onto the slippery slop of failure.
Often such leaders see their followers as pawns, a mere means to an end, thus confusing manipulation with leadership. These leaders lose empathy. They cease to be people "perceivers" and become people "pleasers," using popularity to ease the guilt of lapsed integrity.
Source: Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE
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