There are good eggs and bad eggs in most workplaces -- but when the bad eggs make bad choices, things can get really rotten. If your workplace is challenged with issues of integrity, the lack of trust and good values could affect the productivity of the entire business. For leaders, that means dealing with the headache of finding the culprits and building the business back up; for employees, it may mean facing layoffs or other cuts due to poor productivity. In either case, don't wait to deal with issues of integrity -- deal with them right away.
Set a realistic deadline for projects, and stick to those deadlines. If you're something of a "yes woman" who has a hard time saying no to work-related requests, you may be harming your credibility and integrity in the workplace when you don't deliver on what you promised at the time you promised it. Avoid this by being upfront about your limitations, and letting colleagues and clients know exactly what to expect from you. Then be sure to deliver on what you promise.
Write a values statement for your business, and put it in the employee handbook. If you're the manager or owner of a business, employees are going to look to you as their compass on how to behave in the workplace. Make it crystal clear by including words such as trust, respect and positive integrity in your values statement. Then be sure all employees have read the statement by reviewing it in a meeting or going over the statement when you get a new hire. If you're an employee concerned about workplace integrity, talk to your boss about adding this type of statement to the employee handbook; or simply write your own values statement that you can look at times when you need guidance.
Keep an open-door policy with your employees, allowing them to come to you when they encounter moral issues, interpersonal conflicts or other problems at work. This could involve having a monthly "sit-down" with each of your employees, in which you ask about their work relationships, possible conflicts and work progress. If you're the employee, ask your boss for this sit-down on a regular basis, to foster an open, trusting relationship with her.
Lead by example. Whether you're a supervisor or an employee, your attitude and the way you treat others will rub off on other people. When an integrity question comes up, follow your moral code and do the right thing. Be open about your choices without boasting or preaching; your actions can speak for themselves.
- If you're a supervisor concerned about integrity among your employees, another tactic may be to have workers work in teams on sensitive projects. This can help keep employees in check since they'll know they have someone looking over their shoulders.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.