I was recently called into the office of a coworker. He shut the door and said he needed to talk to me.
This concerned me. I began to wonder what was happening. Was he sick? Did he have a beef against me? What was going on?!?
My fears were alleviated when he began to share what was going on.
His cell phone was connected to the work network’s WiFi. He had been scrolling through his apps. He accidentally clicked on an app that he shouldn’t have during work hours.
He wanted to let me know what he did. He didn’t want to hide the misstep. He wanted to bring it to light.
Integrity In The Workplace
This is what integrity in the workplace looks like. It is making a mistake and owning up to it.
The coworker didn’t dilly daddle or try to cover it up. He came straight to me to admit what had happened.
What happened to the coworker? Nothing. I thanked him for his honesty and he said it wouldn’t happen again.
This is the kind of team member we want in our organizations. We want people who have integrity. We want people who are willing to put aside their pride.
How can we encourage more team members to be like this coworker of mine? There are 3 things leaders can do to encourage integrity in the workplace.
1. Allow room for grace:
People are going to fail. They’re going to do something wrong. What you do with their mistakes and failures will determine how they operate in the workplace.
Seek to punish and demean when something goes wrong? The team member will stop owning up to their mistakes. They will see their honesty be rewarded with punishment.
They will begin to hold back. Their honesty level will retreat.
But allow room for grace? People will see a mistake isn’t the end of the line. They will see the integrity they have be rewarded with trust and respect.
2. Reward integrity:
Encouraging integrity in the workplace goes beyond allowing room for grace. To really encourage integrity, you have to be willing to reward integrity.
What does this look like?
You might have a monthly newsletter. In the newsletter you let your team members know about team members who showed integrity that month.
I wouldn’t encourage you to state what they did if it was a mistake but you can surely state their name and tell other team members how proud you are of them.
3. Show integrity yourself:
What?!? Am I really encouraging you to lead with integrity? I am and you know this is the right way to lead.
You cannot expect your team members to do things that you are not. You also cannot expect your team members to behave in ways that you are not.
This means you, the leader, must show integrity.
When you screw up, admit it. If you make a bad call, don’t hide it. Want people to show up on time? Be on time yourself.
Your team members will look to you for guidance. If they don’t see you leading and working with integrity, they won’t.