5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Integrity
Any leader can bounce back from a tactical failure. Missing one quarter’s sales projections or botching a single project does not spell the end of a career. You can always rise above a failure of execution—especially if you’re humble and willing to learn.
The stakes are higher with a leader’s integrity. A single scandal or moral impropriety can derail an entire career.
That’s why good safeguards make for great leaders. You must know where your fault lines lie and how to guard them. Here are five ways to rope off the vulnerabilities that many leaders have.
- Treat the Opposite Sex with Respect
Some leaders refuse to meet alone with a woman, but in today’s business environment that may not be the best approach to guarding against moral failure. Better is to do as Paul advised young Timothy and “treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters” (1 Timothy 5:2). Women leaders can “talk to younger men as you would your own brothers” (1 Timothy 5:1).
- Account for Every Expenditure
From your expense report to the annual report, ensure that everything under your purview is properly accounted for. Remember, it’s not your money.
- Tell the Painful Truth
Owning your mistakes is always the best policy. It gains far more respect than it loses. Besides, when you shift blame, shade the truth, exaggerate results, or minimize losses, you set a pattern for how you and others will handle the truth.
- Don’t Steal Paper Clips
This one sounds silly, I know. But when you pocket the company’s office supplies, you fall for the idea that you “deserve” a few under-the-table perks. That attitude of entitlement is the first critical step toward doing the wrong thing. Don’t take the first step, and you won’t take the last.
- Be On Time
Time is far more valuable than money, yet many people steal a little every day. When you’re consistently 10 minutes late for work you steal more than a week from your employer every year. Give all the effort you’ve agreed to provide. This, too, will guard you from the entitlement attitude that leads to a compromise of integrity.
Effective leaders are relatively easy to find. Leaders with sterling integrity are rare. Be a man or woman of character, and you will succeed in leading others.
What about you? What are some ethical boundaries you observe? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.
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