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Monday, September 11, 2023

Leading with Integrity

One of the keys to a positive and productive work environment is having leaders who act with integrity. Integrity in leaders refers to being honest, trustworthy, and reliable. Leaders with integrity act in accordance with their words (i.e. they practice what they preach) and own up to their mistakes, as opposed to hiding them, blaming their team, or making excuses. Integrity also involves following company policies, appropriately using company time and resources, and respecting one’s colleagues and direct reports. It is important to remember that a leader’s behavior reflects on not only their own reputation, but also on the reputation of the organization.

Integrity provides several benefits to both leaders and the organizations. For instance, research has linked greater integrity with increased workplace performance. Additionally, leaders with integrity foster greater trust and satisfaction from their direct reports, who are more likely to follow suit. Employees serving under high integrity leaders demonstrate more positive workplace behaviors and fewer negative workplace behaviors. Moreover, employees who trust their leaders to have integrity are likely to work harder, perform better, and have greater company loyalty.

In assessing your level of integrity, ask yourself the following questions:

1.    I always act with positive intent

2.    I do not avoid answering questions truthfully, even when the issue is tough ex. layoffs

3.    I own up to my mistakes and take steps to not repeat them

4.    I am willing to say what I’m thinking, even when I’m in the minority

5.    I treat others fairly and respectfully regardless of position/title

6.    I lead by example

7.    I always fulfill my promises/commitments

8.    I’m respectful of others’ time and am always punctual

9.    I call others out when the work values are not supported

10. I don’t make excuses for poor behaviors or actions displayed by myself or others

11. I address disruptive behaviors and conflict quickly and respectfully

12. I am not easily influenced by those more senior to me when things seem "off" and have the confidence to be true to myself

13. I encourage collaboration for the attainment of results

14. I make an effort to build a work culture that encompasses trust

15. I give credit when and where credit is due

When your organization has leadership committed to integrity, it can identify priorities and goals to measure improvement. This framework will make it easier to reference issues related to business integrity in your regular reporting as well as quickly address any issues as they arise. This is a culture that will permeate throughout the organization, influencing your internal reward structures, interactions with customers and suppliers, and your relationships with investors.

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