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Transparency International reports that the U.S. has fallen out of the top 20 least corrupt nations in the world to number 22 from 19.  This is the lowest ranking the U.S. has ever had over the 15-year history of the index.

The president of Transparency International in the United States, Nancy Boswell commented: “We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law.  We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted by these practices. There’s an integrity deficit.”

DecisionWise 360 Degree Feedback Results Contradict US Corruption Index

These findings, however, are contradicted by the 360-degree feedback results we have collected in 2010 from over 7,000 US employees.  Our data shows that “Integrity and Trust” is the highest scoring leadership competency.  The following list shows the highest to lowest scoring leadership competencies from the DecisionWise database:

  1. Integrity & Trust
  2. Customer Focus
  3. Business Acumen
  4. Decision Making
  5. Results Orientation
  6. Teamwork & Collaboration
  7. Planning & Organization
  8. Managing Change
  9. Leading Others
  10. Innovation & Creativity
  11. Communication
  12. Performance Management

Why the discrepancy? Boswell indicated their research found that lending practices, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and political funding tactics contributed to the decrease.  It appears that corruption in the finance industry and politics is causing an overall poor perception for the U.S. in general.

We find that the few leaders who score low on Integrity and Trust have a significant impact on the performance of the entire organization.  Their direct reports don’t want to work for them, their peers have to work around them, and customers leave.  If left unchecked, one bad leader can create a negative perception of the entire organization- even if everyone else has high standards.

Does your organization have a Bernie Madoff? Is there one bad apple or practice that will create an integrity deficit?  Most likely you know or have a feeling who these people might be.  These leaders are easily identified using 360-degree feedback or an employee engagement survey.  The key is to identify the problem and address it before it causes any more damage.

By the way, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore were the highest ranking countries (least corrupt), Somalia the worst.

Related Webinar: Leadership Derailers: When Leaders Get Off Track

Related Post: Four Domains of Leadership Intelligence

Related Post: Building a Leadership Culture: The difference between leaders and managers

Related Post: The Steve Jobs Paradox of Leadership

Related Content: 360 Degree Feedback

Charles Rogel
Charles Rogel

Charles is the Vice President of Products and Marketing at DecisionWise. He has an extensive background in international sales and consulting. Prior to DecisionWise, he worked for over 10 years in Sales and Marketing roles at various software companies, including Modus Media International, Parlant Technology, and Plato learning. View Bio

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