As leaders, I think we all know that being financially strong is important for any organization. But when someone makes a decision solely from a monetary perspective, especially one that “bends the rules” or in some cases “completely breaks them”, then it’s a bad decision.

Making decisions based on transparency, trust and honesty beats making money with an ulterior motive – every time.

In the No-Øs of Leadership, I share a story about Steve who runs a body shop and stumbles onto a way to make more money from his customers. He started an underhanded, less-than-honest practice of making a used item appear to be new. He would then put it back on the shelf and sell it again at full price. He didn’t stop to ask himself whether this decision was best for his customers. He only forged ahead based on the almighty dinero and how it could benefit his business and ultimately himself.

When Steve got away with that deception, he moved on to another. He figured out a way to make money by duping Joe, an employee, into cashing a check made out to his name. Joe then would give 80% of the money back to Steve, keeping 20% for himself. Seemed like a win-win proposition, until he realized that his boss was using him as a pawn to claim fictitious operating expenses.

Steve not only failed at being honest to his customers, but also failed by putting an employee in a difficult position. He was a very poor leader in both scenarios.

As you move along the path to becoming a respected leader, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Am I getting a personal reward from a situation?
  2. Does a situation give me an unfair advantage from a monetary perspective?
  3. Have I led myself with less than the highest of ethical standards?

Until that time when you can answer a profound “No, I have not” to all, then you still have a long way to go before becoming a Leader Worth Following.