Do you want to know if you are an ethical leader?

Kathy Archer
4 min readAug 26, 2021

Many of us want to be leaders who lead with integrity, and I bet you do too!

Integrity is walking your talk. It’s doing what you say you will do. And it’s aligning your actions with your values, ethics and morals.

But do you do all of that?
How do you know you do? ​

I failed in the ethics category!

You probably already know that when I was leading an organization, my team clearly told me that I didn’t measure up in the integrity area! For example:

  • I didn’t always keep my word.
  • I didn’t follow through on promises.
  • I neglected to listen to people, their ideas and input. Instead, I railroaded through with my plan.

It took some unpacking for me to figure out why not and what to do about it!

If you are wondering where you stand, I’ve included some questions at the bottom to help you identify if you are an ethical leader. But first, let’s deepen our understanding of ethics.

Understanding integrity, ethics, morals and values

Integrity means you adhere to a set of moral and ethical standards; Your moral and ethical standards, not someone else. So, in essence, integrity is living what you believe. The people you supervise want to see that you practice what you preach.

When you lack integrity, things are incongruent. There is an inconsistency between what you say and do.

  • You say your clients come first, but do they?
  • You might believe in honesty, but are you always honest?
  • You value accuracy, but do you ensure accuracy in your work and those of people around you?

The components of integrity

When you are in integrity, your values, ethics and your morals are aligned.

  • Your values are what you believe is worthy or important.
  • Your ethics are what is important to you, what you stand for, and what you believe in. It is your principles and your values.
  • Your morality is conforming to those principles. It is what you do, and it’s how you act. It is your behaviour, your ways, your attitudes. Think of it as how you conduct yourself.

For many of us, rather than alignment, our ethics and morals become unaligned, and we become out of integrity. That lack of alignment is evident as the chasm grows between what you value and believe and what you actually say and do.

It’s time to see where you land!

QUIZ: Am I an Ethical Leader?

🔲 I know what the Code of Ethics is for my profession.
🔲 I have looked at it recently.
🔲 I follow it.
🔲 I have my own Code of Ethics.
🔲 I have looked at it recently.
🔲 I follow it.

🔲 I have identified my top three values.
🔲 I have a working definition for my top 3 values.
🔲 I know how my values show up in my day-to-day work.
🔲 I use my deeper understanding of my values and how I defined them to make work-based decisions.
🔲 I regularly take time for self-reflection to clarify where I have aligned my actions with my values, ethics and morals.
🔲 I set regular intentions for my actions and behaviours to realign with my values and ethics.

How did you score? How did you do? Pretty good, or do you have work to do?

I have work to do! The act of preparing this for you has shown me where my gaps are and have been an indication for me to take action.

  • To get a sense of what I value in my work with you, check out this page.
  • Then feel free to hit reply and tell me how I’m measuring up!

Make a note of what you need to work on and create a plan for doing that. Nothing will change without intentional personal and professional development! Do that inner work! It’s worth it.

Help to lead with integrity and be a more ethically and morally strong leader.
If you realize you have some work to do and you are in The Training Library, here are some of the courses and lessons you might want to check out:

  • Values Verification — The opportunity to identify, define and operationalize your values.
  • Decisive Decision Making — You’ll learn a three-step process to make decisions quickly and efficiently with your integrity intact!
  • Your Annual Analysis — This whole course is worth looking at as it has a ton of worksheets to gauge your growth and development. One worksheet, in particular, looks at your alignment with your values over the past year.
  • Wellness AT Work — This course has a great self-assessment to look at where you rank yourself on trustworthiness, engagement and connection to meaning, both at work and home.

If you want some more help with this, feel free to reach out to book a session with me. Often having unbiased support can help you realign with who you are to lead with authenticity and integrity!

Originally published at



Kathy Archer

Helping women leaders make it in the nonprofit world. Leadership Development Coach * Best-Selling Author * Wife * Mom * Grandma * Dog Mom to Max