The most effective way to encourage your employees to practice integrity is to practice integrity yourself. The YLAI Network provides suggestions modeled after Daniel Goleman’s six styles of leadership for how you can seamlessly integrate integrity-building practices through the ways you regularly lead and interact with your employees. Just like no one leadership style fits everyone and suits all situations, it is important to encourage, address and consult with your employees on matters related to integrity in a variety of different ways.
Leadership style 1: The coach
Is this you? Someone with the coaching leadership style recognizes an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. A coach provides feedback and assigns challenging projects to help individual employees grow.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? In your one-on-one or small group meetings, ask your employees to recount a time they faced an ethical dilemma. Remove personal attachments, and keep the conversation positive. Ask guiding questions to reveal why they chose that particular course of action. Be collaborative and talk through with them other ways they could have approached the situation. Check out the Responsible Business Quiz if you need further practice or assistance.
Leadership style 2: Visionary leader
Is this you? Visionary leaders see the potential for change either in society or in an organization. They help push an organization toward innovation and in a new direction.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? If you are a visionary leader, you often work in an environment where everyone assumes you know the best course of action. You should be consistent in sharing both the good and bad and in admitting moments of failure. When Ann Mulchay became CEO of Xerox, she admitted that the business model was unsustainable. Her employees’ trust in her allowed her to correct the issues and save the company. By admitting when problems arise, you inspire accountability throughout the team while instilling trust in you as a leader.
Leadership style 3: Servant leader
Is this you? A servant/affiliative leader has a people-first mindset and strives to ensure their employees are happy and are working in harmony. A servant leader aims to create strong emotional bonds and foster a high level of loyalty.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? Servant leaders are likely to know about the ethical dilemmas and personal challenges an employee is facing. If this is your leadership style, you should make a point to praise and spotlight examples of integrity you have seen in your employees. This exercise shows you are aware of the challenges they face while encouraging them to continue on a transparent path.
Leadership style 4: Democratic leader
Is this you? A democratic leader tries to drive discussion through participation. Before making a decision, democratic leaders ask for input and considerations to build consensus.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? A useful and familiar exercise for a democratic leader would be to sit down with employees and draft a Code of Conduct as a team. Rather than telling employees what integrity looks like, this strategy creates understanding around the term and practice while promoting the mentality that integrity starts with them.
Leadership style 5: Pacesetting leader
Is this you? Pacesetting leaders are results-oriented. They often focus on deliverables as the benchmarks of success. They set high-performance standards for themselves and expect the same from their team.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? When acknowledging unethical behavior, you should share the specific negative impacts unethical behavior had on a particular project or deliverable. In this conversation, you can emphasize the potential for the team to set the ethical standards for the rest of the industry. Employees will want to rise to match this expectation as ethical leaders in the field.
Leadership style 6: Authoritarian leader
Is this you? Authoritarian leaders often work in organizations or jobs with strict guidelines, where centralized control is needed to reach success. Authoritarian leaders often make decisions on their own or with a small group of experts, which allows them to maximize efficiency and provide consistent results.
How do I introduce integrity-building practices? Following the example of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels’ Daily Line-Up, the supervisors at your business can produce a list of staff who showcased integrity through the course of a project or quarter to be highlighted in special spotlights. This strategy fosters the mentality within your employees that integrity starts with them, even when they are not an active part of the decisionmaking process.
One of the largest determinations of success in the marketplace is a company’s character and integrity. With these various opportunities to practice integrity, you can showcase your commitment to ethical values through meaningful interactions with your employees. How will you show yours?