Integrity is important for your leadership. It is important for you to be the same person all the time, especially if you are running a business. The people in your charge are relying on you to display the kind of character that is necessary to produce a healthy business culture. That’s why it is imperative that you exhibit business leadership integrity.
You can’t afford to be one kind of person at the workplace and one kind of person at home. That is not integrity. That is compartmentalization. And that will sabotage your business culture.
Here are three disciplines to implement to maintain business leadership integrity and develop a healthy business culture.
1. Financial Accountability
Good financial practices are essential to the health of your business—and also the health of your business culture. It is crucial that you maintain financial accountability in all of your dealings.
You have heard of too many stories—like Enron—where lax financial controls provided the opportunity for leadership and trusted employees to succumb to temptation. As a result, the company went into a tailspin, and the employees’ lives was forever scarred because of bad decisions their leaders rationalized due to the circumstances. In 2007 the entire world economy went into the Great Recession because of the actions of a few. While there are now new laws on the books to prevent these situations, ultimately it comes down to each company taking care to preserve their own financial accountability.
By creating an environment where it is harder for individual employees to make financial decisions on their own that impact the entire company can help preserve financial integrity for the business. And the more transparent you can be with your employees about your financial situation will preclude any one employees of having too much control over the finances of the company. As a result, you will contribute to creating a healthy business culture as a result of your business leadership integrity.
2. Personal Reliability
If you say you will do something, then you need to do it. Reinforcing the importance of doing what you say you will do will have ripple effects. The more your employees see you keep your word, the more they will trust you—and the more they will realize that what they say and do matters. Evidencing personal responsibility as a leader of the company will set the tone for others to emulate.
Talk is cheap. And many people talk a good game, but their walk does not match their talk. As a result, they compromise their reputation. And a company that is run with that kind of attitude will not inspire their customers or suppliers or employees to trust them.
You can create an environment where people can trust you all the time. But that will require that you do what you say you will do all the time. Exhibiting personal reliability will go a long way in maintaining your business leadership integrity and instilling a healthy business culture.
3. Private purity
Business ethics start with personal ethics. It is important to keep promises to employees, suppliers, and customers. But it starts with keeping your promises to your wife and children.
By staying true to the wife of your youth (Malachi 2:14-15), you will display a personal leadership integrity that can be the foundation for your business leadership integrity. The corporate culture you create will be based on your private actions. You cannot give what you do not have.
It is paramount to be the kind of person that you want to have on your team. If you aren’t the person you want to attract, then you will never create the culture you want to achieve. Your business leadership integrity starts with your personal leadership integrity—and it starts with how you live your life. Because how you lead ultimately starts with who you are.
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