Simon Sinek discusses how leaders need to value integrity in order to be trusted as leaders and to foster trust in their organizations.
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When integrity in organizations is low, trust is also low; people do not acknowledge they have made a mistake, do not admit that they don’t know how to do a part of their job, and avoid asking for help for fear people (and especially their boss) will think they are incompetent. Such behaviors always begin and get reinforced with what values leaders embody by their behaviors. If integrity is not acknowledged and rewarded by the leader, it will not be a core value.
Without integrity, there is no candor possible. People will try to keep interactions as innocuous as possible, avoid raising issues that could create any discomfort even if it means avoiding the core issues. These are organizations where meetings follow the well-known cliché of the “Elephant in the Room” where everyone knows the problem but no one mentions it. Without integrity in the leader, there is no possibility for openness to grow.
However integrity is contagious. Even in a situation where integrity has been questionable, dynamics can change quickly. Someone has to start “telling the truth” in a way that will be convincing to others.
There is not a more powerful demonstration of integrity than when people admit to having made a mistake and don’t try to find excuses or blame others. When an individual is willing to show such vulnerability by accepting possible negative consequences, others know they are speaking the truth, particularly if they also ask others for their opinion in an open manner. When this happens, conversations that had been avoided now become feasible where others will also be more open to taking responsibility for their actions. This is the natural process of conflict resolution.
Our expertise lies in guiding this process of expanding truth-telling while working on the difficult issues at hand. If you are interested in how we can help you turn around the dynamics of your team or project, please contact us below