Fit for business: Master this one thing and you will master leadership
Ed Ley

April 12th, 2019

This article is more than 4 years old.

Cheating at Scrabble (seven tiles only!) will not improve your integrity rating (Photo: Pixabay)

Imagine this. A work colleague who was a relative stranger approaches you and asks you if they can borrow a pen. The next day, to your surprise, they return the pen and sincerely thank you.

Regardless of your previous opinion of this person, you now view them as more trustworthy, and they have gone up in your estimation.

Losing faith in ourselves
Now imagine this. In a moment of frustration at how you currently feel about yourself, you commit to going for a run, drinking more water and eating more vegetables from tomorrow onwards. But the next day comes and goes, and you find that you did none of the things you said you would do.

Regardless of your previous opinion of yourself, you now view yourself as less trustworthy and you have gone down in your own estimation. We know this because we lose faith in our own ability to do what we said we would.

Trust in integrity
Whether you are leading yourself, your family, your team or your company, they are all made up of individuals, and between yourself and every individual you are in credit, neutral or debt – and the currency is trust.

The sum total of credit (or debt) you have is your integrity. Integrity is the accuracy of your actions, put simply, doing what you said you would do.

The extra mile
Before you get offended, don’t. Most humans fail to consistently do what they said they would do, but being a leader means you are willing to do what most humans won’t.

Being a leader in the true sense of the word is to consistently face the things in your life that require courage to face them.

Integrity grows and with it self-esteem and trust when we start making little promises to ourselves and then keeping them.

Becoming a leader
This is how we build momentum. When people see us keeping our promises to ourselves, however small, they gravitate towards us. They follow us. This allows us to start making tiny promises to others and keeping them. We have become a leader whether it was our intention or not.

Leadership is not something we are taught. It is the act of integrity consistently demonstrated every day in every little way. Start small and start now – do what you said you would do.


Ed Ley

CEOs and Olympic medal-winning athletes come to Ed (edley.net) for help to optimise their physical and mental performance. Using neuroscience and body work techniques, his methods improve their energy, health, fulfilment and well-being. And as the co-host of the Global Denmark podcast, he has his finger on issues pertinent to expats in Denmark.


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