What comes to mind for you when you hear someone described as “having integrity?” If you’re being honest, do images of someone uptight or the tattle-tale from your school days come to mind first? Me too. If I dig deeper, I conjure up images of well-respected moral leaders, whose character seems unattainable. However, throughout my career at Sendero, I’ve seen leaders at all levels of the company make small choices that add up to a reputation of integrity that I greatly admire.
I've seen leaders at all levels of the company make small choices that add up to a reputation of integrity that I greatly admire.
At Sendero, providing and receiving feedback is a norm. While hearing the truth about your deliverables or performance in the form of constructive feedback can take some getting used to, you quickly realize it’s delivered with a spirit of helpfulness to make you better. Over time, you begin to see that the vulnerability of others and willingness to bring those things to your attention strengthens your delivery!
Similarly, with providing feedback, I’ve noticed that speaking straight to the point is usually the most helpful. It can feel natural at times to want to sugarcoat or dance around a topic and hope the recipient reads between the lines, but speaking directly to the feedback in a respectful way ensures clarity and builds healthy trust.
When leaders admit that they are human, have things to learn, and ways they still want to grow, it turns the tone of the conversation from directive to collaborative. Their integrity and humility make you want to be on their team and work together to achieve something great!
Humility is a secret weapon I’ve seen used at the client site as well. I’ve personally witnessed leaders have much more success entering conversations confidently with a listening ear, rather than trying to have all the answers. This demonstrates that they are willing to deeply understand the problem first. Practicing humility can break down walls to help think critically about solutions as a team.
It can be human nature to work on a problem as long as possible before having to discuss potential negative impacts with higher-ups. One way I’ve seen folks stand out on projects is by going against the grain and tackling issues head-on, bringing them up sooner rather than later.
The key is having a mitigation plan. Helping the team or the Steering Committee understand real potential impacts, while understanding there’s a plan in place to try to mitigate the negative impacts builds camaraderie and ultimately leads to a better solution with less re-work.
Ultimately, demonstrating integrity in the workplace is not about a big showy act or keeping your reputation flawless. Integrity is most often demonstrated in small acts over time that create transparency and show that you can be trusted to keep commitments. No one gets this perfect every time, but it’s a great reminder that good small choices add up to a personal value of integrity that others can rely on.