• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Walk the Talk

leaders

Like a falling row of dominoes, the character flaws of leaders have ruined many organisations.  Newspaper headlines, blogs, twitter feeds, television programs, radio broadcasts, and even talk shows have been populated with the ethical scandals of business leaders over the years. We cannot deny the fact that organisations are run by people, hence the perception of any particular organisation by others is largely dependent on the way they perceive those who run the organisation.

The billionaire investor of our time, Warren Buffet didn’t mince words when he said “Look for 3 things in a person-intelligence, energy & integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”Meaning, integrity is key and there is no controversy. Integrity connotes a deep commitment and consistency to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances. As a line-manager, business owner or supervisor, there are many things you can lack and still steer clear of danger. Integrity isn’t one of them. Sound ethics and policies must be established and integrated into all business processes, with you in the lead of adhering to them. Ultimately, employees observe and imitate the actions of their leaders. Consciously or unconsciously, a leader’s character shapes the culture of his or her organization, department or team and also plays a large part in determining the opinion of the public about the organisation.

Let us take learnings from Ralph James, the author of The Integrity Chain, who popularised 16 ways leaders can demonstrate integrity in the workplace:

1. Show up on time, every time

2. Write down things you have been requested to do, do them and let the person who made the request know it has been done.

3. Keep all promises or explain the difficulty to the other party as soon as you are aware of your inability to keep the promise.

4. Focus on performance.

5. See if anything about your behavior causes inconsistency.

6. Communicate frequently with everyone to remove doubts about the integrity of the system caused by lack of information. Be transparent.

7. Do not cover up bad news. Provide a solution to the problem.

8. Fix processes rather than blame people.

9. Be disciplined.

10. Review policy statements to ensure they are consistent with actions.

11. Control the rate of change in the company culture so people do not lose confidence because of too much change too fast.

12. Maintain an open-door policy.

13. Work through channels rather than around channels to maintain the integrity of the reporting process.

14. Stick with people over the long haul.

15. Admit mistakes and use mistakes as an opportunity for improvement.

16. Insist on honesty in all dealings since your reputation, and the reputation of your business, are essential to success.

It works like magic. Following the path of integrity leads to your people and customers trusting you, enhances repeat business and ultimately the profitability of your business. #WalkTheTalk.

Ngozi Adebiyi