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Holding your people accountable
Part of leadership integrity is holding your people to ethical standards.
Your people represent you and your company out in the world. Their actions reflect on everyone (as do yours!).
Make sure that everyone knows what your expectations for acting with integrity are. Some are obvious—don’t lie, cheat, or steal. Don’t commit felonies. Don’t harass, bully, or otherwise create a hostile work environment for others. Don’t take bribes or kickbacks. Don’t falsify records.
You get the idea.
If you have open communication with your team, your people are likely to come to you first when there is a potential problem with a coworker or a client. Be worthy of the trust they are giving you by doing this. Make sure your actions when this happens reflect well on you and your firm.
First, confirm the facts. Get the information from the people involved—all sides. You should also loop in HR, your supervisor, the other person’s supervisor, and/or the legal department, when appropriate.
Don’t procrastinate. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it will somehow go away. This is a time for effective leadership. Your people are counting on you.
Don’t give the benefit of the doubt in integrity situations—make sure you verify the facts. Document what people tell you and what you find out. Document like you might one day be reading it aloud in a deposition… because that’s where some of these things end up.
Some people see the potential for growth and redemption in people who have made ethical errors. For less serious infractions, you might choose to give the person a second chance. Don’t give them a third.
Others are more black-and-white in their trust. Personally, if you break my trust, it’s highly unlikely I will ever trust you again. People who are untrustworthy do not have a future in my organization.
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