As we continue the Toxic Work Culture series today, we will explore the importance of integrity as a leader in the workplace instead of a dishonest and inconsistent leader. A leader tells the truth regardless of the fallout. Integrity is essential for cultivating a healthy work culture. Oxford defines integrity as the attribute of being honest, possessing solid moral principles, and upright. Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) adds to Oxford's definition of integrity to mean the quality of being impartial and objective. As a business partner, leader, supervisor, employee, or team leader, would you prefer someone who consistently fabricates or someone of integrity? When putting ethical principles in the context of a business or dealing one-on-one, most prefer to have a person with integrity. So why is it that the business arena is flooded with morally corrupt leaders in both public and private sectors? Let's dive in.
As a believer in the Creator, I am no longer surprised at the corruption in high places. The world has become darker, and expectations have quickly been reduced to trash. Within five generations, I've listened to the voices of our elders when they complained that their kids' generation was the worse. I can say that of generation y and millennials; simultaneously, I hear from the i-generation that the younger cohort of their generation is disrespectful. The prophets prophesied this, and Isaiah 5:20 reads, "woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" In the 21st century, educators complain from pre-k to university that they have to fudge grades and standard scores. In fact, as an Adjunct Professor, I had to stop a physical fight that could have gone wrong in a graduate program. In business, the norm dictates it is ok to manipulate numbers. Business schools suggest it is acceptable to attenuate the quality of products to increase profits. I can go on and on about how morally bankrupt we are as a society. So, now what? I am glad you asked. We have an inherent responsibility to rectify a morally bankrupt culture one leader at a time. It commences with YOU, the LEADER.
In the business realm, integrity can be displayed in myriad ways, including how you communicate with your team, prospective clients, current customer base, and competitors. Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) offers suggestions to hone one's integrity as an employer or employee. For your consideration, please review the top ten ways how you can cultivate an environment of integrity.
#1-Practice self-awareness-note Monday's blog for building self-awareness
#2-Practice what you preach. You must have one standard and policy for all. Do not apply double standards and exercise any form of favoritism or nepotism
#3-Be humble. Humility begets a more significant amount of honey than an ego.
#4-Exercise prudence. No decision is easy to make. Before making a decision, scrutinize all facts, ask for the opinions of members, preferably a diverse team (diverse ideas, not necessarily culture), pray for wisdom, and implement. Acts of Commission are an integral part of decision-making. Being prudent also means returning to the drawing board until it is perfected.
#5-Build trust with your team. As the saying goes, trust is earned. Whether between your customers or employees, it takes time to earn trust. This can only be exemplified when afforded the opportunity. That is, holding your end of the deal over and over again.
#6-Demonstrate the 360-respect model. Remember, your employees will mirror your habits for better or worse. So, respect your team, and in turn, you will have earned their respect. As a result, your team will execute the impossible. Watch.....
#7-Admit your mistakes. Own your mistakes, apologize, learn from them, and move on. How you handle your errors can differentiate between a toxic or positive work culture.
#8-Keep your promises. Let your yes be a yes and your no a no. At times you may need to renege on an offer, but not without an explanation. Do not hide behind technology. Be a servant of The Most High by acting accordingly.
#9-Samuel Adams in 1777, coined, "give credit to whom credit due." Frequently, the leader takes sole credit for the work and lashes out at the team when an error is identified. Next week's 'Non-Toxic Tuesday' animated video will illustrate how stealing or taking credit poisons the team.
#10-Work when you're on the clock. Integrity in the workplace begins by showing up on time and dedicating yourself to the task at hand. Stay away from personal tasks as well as busy body activities. Again, your staff will mirror your behavior.
Suffice it to say the list is continuous. Can you add your recommendation on what it means to have integrity in the workplace? As we continue our initiative to stomp out toxic workplace culture, be sure to spread the word, implement some of the recommendations, and share your findings. If you desire one-on-one coaching incorporating the Torah principles, email CPR at firstname.lastname@example.org.