These days, we’re hearing so much about the integrity of our political and corporate leaders. But what does integrity mean?
It means being honest, moral and ethical. It means doing what is right for the common good, not fulfilling some personal agenda. It means putting others over self. While there are many leaders who don’t possess integrity, all GOOD leaders do. Those who don’t struggle to build trust and loyalty from their employees.
We believe that a good leader can recover from almost any mistake, except for a blatant lack of integrity. Rebuilding a reputation damaged from deceit is almost impossible, and you don’t have to be a top-level executive for your character to be questioned or disgraced. Mid-level managers and team leaders can suffer the consequences, too.
So ensure that you don’t undermine your integrity by committing these management sins:
Not keeping your promises
If you make a commitment to your employees or customers and then blow them off, they’ll be annoyed and frustrated. If you do it more than once, they’ll question the value of your word. Write all commitments on your calendar to ensure that you never accidentally break a promise. And if you tell them you are going to do something, do it. Never make promises you can’t deliver.
This should go without saying, but if you lie, omit the truth and cover up issues, people won’t believe a word you say. Be honest and open when you can. Don’t sit on information. If you must keep mum on something, keep your mouth shut until you can share all the facts. Don’t sugarcoat problems or make up stories in the meantime.
Additionally, don’t take credit for other people’s work, including the work of people who report to you. Don’t deflect criticism you deserve onto others. Don’t give misleadingly positive performance reviews.
In other words, just tell the truth.
Treat your employees fairly. That doesn’t mean that you should treat everyone exactly the same, but your staff will know if you’re giving your pals the best assignments or the biggest raises. Some employees will do more to earn those raises and assignments, out of merit. However, everyone should be given the same opportunity to advance and receive rewards.
What does integrity mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.