"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office." --- Dwight D. Eisenhower
EmployeeSurveys.com recently posted the top key issues in need of improvement. The number two top choice was, "Lack of management integrity." Out of all the problem issues the surveyed employees could have chosen, including poor pay scale, poor working conditions, lack of advancement opportunities, the number two issue was a visible sign of management lacking integrity.
Most of us believe we do lead with integrity and that it should show to our team members at all times. The issue isn't really if we are showing our integrity to our employees on a regular basis, but if we really feel the need to show it. In other words, do we put on a show of integrity or does it flow naturally from our inner being?
To simplify the matter of working with integrity, here are three key points you can use to ensure you will always work with integrity without even trying:
1.) Adopt a Set of Values- Country singer Aaron Tippin once sang, You've Got To Stand For Something, (Or You'll Fall For Anything). It's true. If you are not following a set of core values that guide your business practices, you'll catch the next wave of whatever someone else comes up with. It could be the hottest trend in business, but if you jump from trend to trend, your employees see you as lacking substance, values, and integrity. Adopt your own core principles and stick to them. Some of the best, time-tested ones still produce success in business. These include honesty in all transactions, treating employees fairly, treating customers fairly, never cutting corners, and stand by your word.
2.) Share Your Values - As you know, one great way to learn something is to teach it to others. By sharing your core values with those in your business, you are sharpening your value senses and building your integrity muscle. This exercise serves a dual purpose: it reinforces your values, anchoring them to your inner being while spreading the message that the business will be run with integrity at every level.
3.) Stay Away from Junk - Years ago I read an article by professional triathlete Scott Tinley about focused training. One of things I remembered most about the piece was Tinley advising to stay away from television and people with bad attitudes. The same holds true for sticking to your core values and working with integrity. The weirdness of the world and the scams in business can often make the man or woman of integrity feel like they are Lone Rangers in the world all alone. That's okay. Keep the pace you are running and don't sway to the left or the right. Surround yourself with people with like-minded principles or form or join a group of people who choose to do business the right way. This accountability will serve you well in leading with integrity. You will no longer have to show or prove it to your employees-- the evidence will be clear!