If you're a manager or in a leadership role, chances are good that your integrity has been challenged at some point. It's happened to all of us, and it's something we should talk about more frequently, because the most common thing I see managers doing is pretending that their integrity is intact. We want our employees to act with integrity when they're at work, right? We know that it's important. But, if only we could convince them of how crucial integrity is to their success…
I love the way author Tom Rath worded this idea: "Without integrity, you cannot earn trust and without trust, you cannot build a good reputation." So many of us are moving toward a positive reputation society, and you know what happens in a positive reputational society? You're not trusted. And if you're not trusted, then no one wants to do business with you.
Now that I'm done quoting Rath, let's get into the specifics of what a manager can do to inspire integrity in their employees. Here are four things you can start doing today:
1. Create a strong and clear business vision. I'm sure you've all heard this before, but it really is important that your employees know where you or your leadership is taking the company. The best managers I know are able to communicate the vision for the future in a clear way that inspires employees to act as a team and to contribute to the growth of the business.
2. Stand behind your staff members when they need it most. When an employee is facing challenges, set aside some time to go over the problem together. Give them some advice, if you feel it's necessary to do so, but don't tell a lie – and I mean this in any capacity. You can choose not to help them out of the situation if you want to, but be honest about your decision. Don't pretend you're on board with their plans when you really aren't.
3. Be a role model for your employees. When you put integrity into action (not just talk about it), that's going to inspire employees to do the same thing. So, be conscious of the times when you make a decision and consider what message you're sending out there by doing so. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but chances are good that your employees will end up copying the honest and ethical behavior you're putting forth.
4. Take ownership of your actions. This is probably one of the toughest things for any manager to do, especially when they're first starting out or if they've been in the workforce for a long time. It's easy to point the blame at someone else (even if you're not entirely responsible), but your employees are going to see right through it, and they might lose a little of their respect for you along the way. Do what's right by taking ownership over your actions, and lead your employees in doing so as well.
What other things can a manager do to inspire integrity in their staff? Keep the conversation going in our Discussion Group!