At some point a newcomer to your team has asked this question about you: “What’s she like?” Often the answer takes one of two extremes: An enthusiastic “She’s all-right!” or a shake of the head back and forth because it perfectly expresses what words can’t. Avoid the head-shake by developing and maintaining a life of integrity.
Simply put, integrity is soundness of character.
Integrity is authenticity in action; it reflects selflessness, kindness, humility, maturity, and honesty.
Integrity is predictable: you do what you say you’ll do. Integrity tells your team, “You can trust me.”
Integrity is essential not only to avoid your team’s bad opinion but in order to communicate the story and the vision of your personal or corporate brand. Believable leaders are perceived as honest; they are known for having the team’s welfare uppermost in their mind.
How Leaders Model Integrity
Intentional leaders model and weave integrity into the team culture in three ways:
1. Trust. Leaders of integrity trust others because they expect to be trusted. They trust when it’s hard, when they don’t want to, when it’s risky.
TIP: Be transparent and honor trustworthy members of your team with your trust.
2. Train. Leaders of integrity don’t mind if others are smarter and better trained than they are. They share resources and offer training — regularly. Classroom training doesn’t always have to be the norm. A “roadside training” mindset, sharing and discussing information desk-side can go a long way.
TIP: Infuse the culture with informal gatherings, in open work areas, to discuss information and insights. Make face-to-face connection part of the culture. It is a powerful lesson in effective leadership, trust, and communication.
3. Give Authority. Leaders develop the courage to give authority away, even if the project or idea fails to deliver the desired results. Building trust and a culture of trust is more important and profitable in the long run.
TIP: Give your team the authority to create magic; champion their efforts until the magic arrives — it will!
If you want to develop a team culture that includes integrity, model it often so that your people can emulate it. Your team will do what they see you do. Model the right things to move your team forward. Model integrity.