Integrity is non-negotiable. No matter what industry you’re in, no matter what role your team members have, it’s essential that everybody is focused on doing the right thing – rather than choosing an easier or faster shortcut – especially in the absence of supervision.
This same rule applies to you and other leaders of your company. The fundamental truth is that you can’t be a role model during the day then turn into a completely different person at night.
If there’s any dissonance in your character, your off-the-job conduct will undermine the values you try to portray at work.
As a good friend and colleague, Colonel (retired) Bill Smullen, USA, wrote in Ways and Means for Managing Up, “As a professional, regardless of rank or position, you must be accountable for all you do or fail to do to uphold the reputation and credibility of the organization. That may come naturally to those who were raised to uphold the highest of ethical and moral standards. Others may have to learn it.”
As leaders, it’s our responsibility to serve those we lead by doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. This is one way that we can lead by example. There’s a great magnifying effect that managers have on their employees.
An effective leader leads by example. He or she embodies the organization’s desired values and, in doing so, provides a role model for the entire team. If you want your team focused on doing the right things, it’s essential that you show yourself equally willing to do what’s right under all circumstances. Showing integrity is the first step towards building integrity within your ranks and developing a culture of discipline in your organization.