Many organizations have integrity as one of their organizational values. Often leaders site that integrity drives them. But what happens with integrity is compromised?
Integrity is broken by choosing the easier path, or the self-centered option. It can happen in an instant. When a leader doesn’t act with integrity it is a long journey back.
In a discussion paper from Queen’s School of Business called “Leading with Integrity”, author Kathryn Christie outlines ways to mend integrity:
Admit your mistake – Be clear with others about what you did and what you are going to do in the future differently
Keep your word – You can’t change the past, but going forward always keep your commitments
Tell the truth – As difficult as it might be, always telling the truth helps people being to trust you again
Trust others – By trusting others and being vulnerable people will start trusting you again
Give without expectations – Give to others without expecting anything in return
Practice what you preach – No double standards. Be a good role model for living the values
Reward & punishment – Reward employees following the values and punish inappropriate behavior. This is important to creating the organizational culture that you want
One of the most interesting sections of the discussion paper was this:
“Size DOES matter: Can your space influence your integrity? New research has suggested that the bigger your physical space is at work, the more apt you may be to compromise your integrity and engage in dishonest behaviour. Columbia Business School researchers have shown that our body postures instinctively adjust to our setting, such that they will be expanded or contracted, depending on the size of our space. In an expansive workspace, our bodily postures will expand and, in fact, impact our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and lead us to act less honestly at work. These expansive postures lead us to feel more powerful which can render people less honest. This phenomenon can also be seen outside of the office. For example, a field study of the size of driver seats in cars found that the more expansive the driver’s seat, the more likely the car was to be illegally parked.”
What kind of leader are you? Are you living your integrity value or are your behaviors starting you down a “slippery slope” towards compromise?
Want to talk about defining and living your values? Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
Click here to read the entire paper: Leading With Integrity