“Alternative Facts are not facts. They are untruths.” Political commentator Chuck Todd uttered this quote in disbelief when addressing Kellyanne Conway, white house advisor. They were discussing the comment made by press secretary that the inauguration had the most attendees ever. As principals, it’s even more important than ever that we display integrity when those in the highest positions of authority do not. These three tips for demonstrating integrity will help your staff and students understand and appreciate what leadership should look like.
Action > Words
Do the little things. You’ve heard it before, but this is one of the best ways to show integrity. Doing the jobs that you expect others to do is an example of integrity. Show them that you aren’t afraid to get in the trenches with them. If you’re school holds ISS, take a turn sitting in their with the students. Join your staff in performing the jobs you know they dread. Leading by example, demonstrating through your actions that you mean what you say is a great way to show your integrity.
We > Me
This is a team concept and those with high integrity demonstrate this value. Gathering the advice and listening to the point of view of those on your staff is important in building a strong culture. Being able to ask for help and not pretending to have all the answers is an offshoot of this concept. It shows you do not have a false sense of superiority and are willing to listen. Treating your entire staff as integral parts of a whole highlights your integrity as a leader.
Discomfort > Comfort
This is often about honesty. Telling the truth tactfully lets your staff know where you stand. They don’t have to worry that you’re hiding something from them. Often making the decision to confront someone is more difficult than having the actual conversation. You must embrace the discomfort. When a teacher is disrespectful to the student and then the student responds in kind. Asking your staff what they could have done better isn’t easy. It’s your job to do it anyway. Integrity means having the courage to be uncomfortable.
In the current age of hyperbole and alternate facts demonstrating integrity is one of the most important characteristics of a principal. Leading by example through your actions, showing that the team is greater than the individual and embracing discomfort are all components of integrity.
What are other ways you can demonstrate this characteristic. Share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’re looking for a group of supportive principals join the private FB group. We’re currently engaged in The Principals’ 20 Day Classroom Challenge!
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......