Modeling Integrity as a Business Manager or Owner

- February 13, 2012

"These are some reminders for showing integrity and maintaining the respect of employees, co-workers, customers and other business associates"

I had an interesting question from a client this week:

“How do I train my managers to show integrity in their work? Can it even be taught?”

I think we do that best by leading by example, and articulating expectations when interacting with our team and our customers.

These are some reminders for showing integrity and maintaining the respect of employees, co-workers, customers and other business associates:

1) Take the credit and responsibility where appropriate. When something goes well and works out for the benefit of all, remember to share the credit with those who contributed. Catch people doing it right. It is important to recognize co-workers and collaborators when experiencing success. Also, take your own share of the responsibility when things do not go as planned. It is okay for a business leader to admit a mistake. Just acknowledge the error, learn from it and move on.

2) Stay calm. Everything is not an emergency. Save the drama for only the most urgent of circumstances. Respect is earned by handling the difficult situations with integrity, transparency and a professional demeanor.

3) Stay positive. Those folks who are openly critical and complaining are those that we don’t want to work with. I’m not saying that we want to be “yes men.” I’m saying that we should all make an effort to come up with suggestions for improving the situation, rather than griping. It’s pretty easy to turn a complaint into a helpful suggestion. That includes when you feel overwhelmed at work. Ask for help and suggestions, and learn to delegate. Co-workers and employees would much rather be part of the solution than to see you as a “perpetual victim” of an overwhelming workload.

4) Stick with your standards for quality. If you demonstrate that mediocrity is acceptable for you, others will decide the same for themselves. I know I have said things like “Well, this will do for now. We can come back and improve it later.” Nope. There is nothing so permanent as something temporary. Do it right the first time. Setting that example will empower others to do it right the first time, every time.

5) Be prepared. Think ahead: what will you need to have? Demonstrating organizational skills and foresight is a valuable leadership tool. Whether it is a meeting, a trade show, a project or just a simple task, showing that you thought it through encourages others to do the same, and then things won’t fall through the cracks for anyone.