The National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka presented the 5th episode of podcast series “LeadershipIsAlsoAbout” – “Demonstrating Integrity as a Core Leadership Value”

The Guest Speakers Mr. Kaneel Dias, the Local Committee President in AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21 and Mr. Pium Pamuditha, the Local Committee President in AIESEC in University of Moratuwa 20.21 reflected their AIESEC journey through their real-life examples. Mr. Arfan Nazar Member Committee Vice President-Elect For Incoming Global Talent – AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21. moderated the session. In this article, you will learn more about what they discussed on a deeper level.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible…. ” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

What is leadership?

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A simple definition given by Mr. Kaneel Dias was that leadership is the art of leading a diverse team to act towards achieving a common goal. People are different. Not only the choices they make or opinions they bear, but people may also differ in many other ways. Therefore a leader should not hope his team to behave the same. The key is to take the time to understand your team members. With that foundation in place, you’ll have a much easier time leading your different team members in a way that resonates best with them and their individual preferences.

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Mr. Pium Pamuditha defined leadership differently; setting a direction initial and then guiding a set of people towards that direction in the best possible way. If we take a group of people that have a common goal they have different methods to achieve it. But there’s a certain method that produces the best outcome of every member of that group. It’s the best possible way to achieve that particular goal according to Mr. Pium.

Leadership definition captures the essentials of being able and prepared to inspire others. The speakers further discussed how they were inspired to be a leader. During the AIESEC journey, Mr. Kaneel had been inspired by many different leaders. With the inspiration of them today he has become the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21. Mr. Pium mentioned about a specific character who inspired him to be the best version of his leadership; Mr. Mahela Jayawardane, the legendary former caption of Sri Lankan National Cricket Team. Being the first player in the history of Sri Lankan cricket to score over 10,000 Test runs and the former captain he inspired other cricketers in his team to achieve the success of Sri Lankan Cricket Team.

From a leadership perspective integrity is…

Most leaders and companies profess to “value integrity”. But they may not all understand or agree on the definition of this popular term. Consider ethics and models of an organization. Putting ethics and models on the back burner can spell trouble for any organization. Because ethics is far more than someone doing the right thing. But integrity is also about staying ethical in situations that seem to be unethical and dishonest. This can be applied when it comes to delivering exchange standards to Exchange Participants in AIESEC. Sometimes it might be very easy to be dishonest so that you can get the best outcome to your Local Committee. But integrity is finding different ways to remain honest and at the same time remain ethical while accomplishing what you want to accomplish with your organization.

Importance of understanding integrity as a core leadership value

Is it crucial that you understand the importance of behaving with integrity at all times when you are a leader? Simply put, integrity is crucial because it means doing the right thing, no matter what. When you are a leader, you serve as an example to everyone else in your organization. Consciously or unconsciously, they look to you for guidance on how to behave. In organizations where integrity is a respected virtue, on the other hand, leaders can trust that their subordinates will always choose to do the right thing. This frees up a great deal of energy that can be harnessed for more productive ends when everyone in the team is working towards a common goal.

Mr. Kaneel shared a recent example of a situation related to his AIESEC journey where he tested his integrity. “Back in January, this year Our LCVP resigned from his position & I had to select a replacement for that. I interviewed several different people. The biggest concern I noticed was whether they can manage this role of becoming LCVP along with their academics.” In this situation, he described the real condition of the role of Local Committee Vice President; a difficult and time-consuming role. He maintained his integrity as well as the Local Committee’s integrity.

Mr. Pium shared an experience where integrity was challenged in his academic life. “ We have assessments in our university and sometimes it’s really hard to reach the deadlines. But there’s an option that I can get the assignments done through my friends by coping with their answers” But Mr. Pium was very honest with himself. He tried to manage all these things by himself. 

Respecting integrity helps the relationships between leaders and their followers to grow stronger while increasing the performances of the followers to excellence

When a leader is working with a diverse team it’s important to understand every individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and treat them accordingly. Aside from that, a leader should be honest with their team members. Some truths might create negative impacts in the short term, in the long term the team members will tend to trust the leader more. Openness is also linked with integrity. Every single person in the team should know about every single thing about the team members. These best practices build a strong bond among each other of the team.

Maintaining integrity helps a person to grow his internal values

“Demonstrating integrity is indeed a core leadership value”

The single most important quality that you can ever develop is the quality of integrity. When a person is working towards a certain goal and if he is completely truthful about the work, he will give his maximum effort towards the goal. Living in truth with other people means that one can develop strong connections among other colleagues. On a similar note, it’s important to respect your team members’ opinions. Every single one of them has different opinions. Knowing what those are and respecting them will help you manage in a way that suits your direct reports best.

Integrity is the most important trait of leadership in our society because regardless of what other beneficial characteristics exist, people will not follow someone unless they have established trust with them. So real-life examples shared by Mr. Kaneel Dias, the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21 and Mr. Pium Pamuditha, the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Moratuwa 20.21 demonstrated the importance of integrity in any list of leadership traits.

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