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Integrity: A Man’s Word Is His Bond

by Richard Norris on April 19, 2012


Integrity: A Man’s Word Is His Bond


Integrity is often talked about but, from my experience, is not truly understood. Perhaps that is the wrong way to start this. Why? Because, from experience, it seems few leaders today actually show any evidence of this. Promises and commitments seem to go awry sadly because some "leaders", some men, look out for themselves first. In the short-term this may help but in the long-term it costs. It costs relationships at work and at home.

Ever made a promise to your wife or your kids and then broken it? I have, interestingly, only at home. Never at work. However, as I am sure you will know the pain…"Ouch!"..of seeing the pain that you caused in the other person’s eyes – be it your son, daughter, wife, partner, colleague etc (assuming that you noticed).

Perhaps a better way to start this is to say instead:

I believe your word must be your bond.

For me it is not a belief actually. It is now a fact (I was admittedly a slow learner). So much so I would now state it as…

I know my word is my bond.

What about you?

Today, particularly in the work arena, it seems we are consumed by the need to cover our backs and request contracts and consult with lawyers. In many instances the lawyers get rich and you get…well I will leave you to fill in the ___________!

My Dad taught me from a young age about integrity, about my word being my bond. I can still hear him, "Son, a handshake is a handshake. Your handshake is your word. A man’s word is his bond. A Norris’s word is his bond. Remember that. Live by that."

Apart from early days in my marriage, I have ever since. My friends know that. My network knows that. And…my family knows that. Like my Dad, if I say I will do something it gets done. Fast and well and when I say I will do it. When it comes to my family the prevailing thought is that I made a promise and I will live up to it.

When you live this belief your key relationships strengthen. You grow in credibility and reputation. You become more successful. Please remember, because it is important, this applies at home too. Actually, live it out at home and you will live it out at work. The same cannot always be said for the reverse (as I learned).

Has this happened to you? Time and again I put faith in others that their handshake was as good as mine. Time and again I have been disappointed. On a few occasions I have paid a heavy price (mostly in time, expertise and money) having kept up my end of the bargain to no avail.

I have faith. I will keep the standard. Others will come.

I recall going to my Dad’s retirement (he was 76 and still in demand) from the construction industry in New York City. It was the first time I was ever around Dad’s peers from across the industry. These guys and gals were the movers and shakers. All proclaimed their respect and admiration for my Dad and all said he was a man of his word and all dealt with my Dad on a handshake. They said he was a rare breed.

I owe a lot to my Dad and this is one of those gems I am passing down to my children. It has also become a differentiator for me amongst my clients, colleagues, peers, friends and family. Why? Because, this is now a rarity. It makes me stand out. It is essential for leadership and it is a key building block of self-leadership. I get referrals because people know I will deliver fast and effectively with only the need for a handshake. More and more those like me are now becoming part of my circle of influence. This is the way life, leadership and business should be.

I intend to continue to live life and do business this way. To me integrity is crucial to my Journey of Success.

I am doing my part to uphold the legacy of my father and many of his generation to whom a handshake was a handshake.


How about you? Will you join me?

Your Power Play

Look at your commitments this week and the promises that go along with them. Keep them. Keep your word. Show up on time for meetings, appointments, dance recitals and mealtimes etc. Start setting the standard.







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Dr Richard Norris is a self-leadership expert who equips and empowers aspiring men from the boardroom to the locker room to the family room to lead the life they deserve and desire. Clients find Richard’s practical, simple and easy to implement tools, tips and techniques deliver quick results and progress their Journey of Success. Richard’s own self-leadership has developed from a diverse career of experiences as a veterinarian, army office, competitive swimmer, award-winning coach, speaker, author, husband and father.







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