Integrity is a much talked about topic. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who is against integrity. Like so many things today, just because truthfulness and honesty are on every list of attributes that all of us should possess and especially those in leadership, it seems the talk often time does not match behavior.
Integrity seems to be so broad that you wonder if we are discussing the same topic. Truth-telling is such a universal value, especially for those in leadership, you have examples of people who did tricky things, covered-up, and lied who were in positions of trust and authority.
What are some of the elements that lead to us be truthful and honest women and men?
Let’s look at a few:
· Keeping your word If you do not keep your word, you are sending a clear signal that you do not mean what you say and that if things get uncomfortable, you will not keep your word. One way that this shows up is when we make a commitment or a promise without giving it a lot of thought. You may be one of those who does not like to disappoint people, so even though you do not have the time, you commit. As the commitment starts to get much closer, you realize you made a mistake, and you either break your promise or make up an excuse. Develop a way to know that if you are over-committing that you need to decline at the outset. If you are a people-pleaser, this will take some practice. One must keep their word even when it is difficult. Standing by your word is the foundation upon which integrity exists.
· Make fair decisions Treat everyone fairly and with respect. Do not allow yourself to favor certain relatives, friends, co-workers, or employees. Treat every one fairly and do not come down hard on those you are not fond of and overlook things from people who are close to you. People will gain respect for you if you treat everyone fairly.
· Give credit where credit is due. Do not hog the spotlight! Give more credit to others than you take for yourself!
· Promise less and deliver more There is always the temptation to promise more than we can provide. The best way to operate is to focus on the results. If you become known as someone who delivers on your promises, people will respond positively.
· Transparency There are many ways to operate openly and transparently. Allow people to know what factors went into your decision making. Let people know when you make mistakes and admit that things do not always work out as you had planned. Today’s climate demands that our leaders are comfortable with questions, inquiries and are ready to offer explanations to one and all.
Commitments Honor your commitments. Honoring our commitments is why I mentioned earlier that one must be careful not to over-commit. Promises are essential and one of the significant building-blocks in constructing character. Keep your commitments.
Take responsibility. It seems that nearly everyone is looking for someone to blame. When something does not work, own it, and move on. If you need to apologize, go ahead, if you need to inform folks of the lessons you have learned from the debacle, again own it! Instead of people thinking less of us, this one action will inspire confidence in our ability to lead.
Treat everyone with respect. There is nothing more embarrassing than being with someone who considers themselves a leader and then observe as they belittle and insult wait staff. It is cruel to mistreat people who have no recourse but put up with the abuse. How we treat people who cannot strike back goes a long way to show who we truly are, so be nice and respectful to all!
These are just some of my suggestions that will assist us in living lives of integrity.