Honesty can be elusive in the workplace. We have a fear of saying, ‘I don't know’. We don't want to say who we truly are as it might not fit with the company. For example, you put on the mask of the finance manager you hope the company wants you to be to get the job, rather than the human that you actually are. Everyone has had a job like that at some point and if you haven't you are very lucky.
Never be afraid to say you've made a mistake. If we fired people for a making a mistake I wouldn't be here.
We make mistakes and then in poor company cultures we are too afraid to own those mistakes, to put our hands up. We also don't want to say, 'I don't know', as it’s seen as a sign of weakness and lack of knowledge. 'What are they employing you for if you don't know the answer'. So you make something up to compensate. Then you are in a cycle that is not productive for your own development or the project.
Leaders must promote honesty as a way to work.
First, by looking at your inner self:
Understanding your self-awareness and making a commitment to grow yourself is key to being in a position of confidence. You will therefore have less fear about tackling situations, which will empower you to act with integrity.
Have a sense of your own purpose. This may seem elusive, however, when you have your values your purpose follows quite easily. In the example on p.129, Nick ‘s core values were family, security and reliability. His mission statement might be:
‘My aim is to provide security for my family, not only from a material point of view but also to ensure that I am emotionally available and make sure I always have time for them first. I want to always be seen by them and the people in my life as reliable and constant.’
Why not have a go on Appendix 5 by adding your own mission statement in at the bottom of the page.
Learn to say no. Be ok with saying no and putting in the boundaries of what you can and can’t do. It’s about having clear goals and working on them not being influenced by all the other shiny things that come into your line of sight.
It is ok not to know. Don’t let your ego be bigger than the moment. When you understand what it is to be ok with not knowing, people follow suit around you. It is important that you are willing to seek out the knowledge and share what you find.
Looking at your team and the outer self.
Get people to respond. Making sure your teams are responding to each other and to customers. Ensuring that they have time management in place and clear goals will support them to improve their integrity.
Don’t belittle. People will make mistakes, sometimes not perform as they or you might want and when someone is honest to own up to the mistake, the answer is not to be deter that. Instead be thankful for their honesty. Ask them what they think might work to remedy that.
Giving notifications, not giving commands is a brilliant response in stressful situations. What do you know? What don't you know? Questions that end with, has anyone got ideas? Even when you feel you should know, it is a great gift to a team environment to help it grow but also to navigate the problem they are trying to get over the challenge they are facing.
Feedback is one of the most important things we can deliver. It is the thing that leaders dread and can often really just not be very good at. However, if within the culture all the things that did not go right with a project or piece of work is valued, positive change can happen. If everyone asks first, what could I change on this to make it better? What would allow this message to be delivered better? What is missing from this?
The key to building integrity in to allow honesty without judgement, to be honest in what you say you are able to deliver and ultimately do it with kindness.
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