You have been called to head to your boss’s office. Immediately you cringe up inside, the blood flowing through you at a faster pace. You start wondering, "What have I done in the past 24 hours to deserve this?" as you begin your arduous journey to the office. Your peers glare at you, they know what direction you’re heading in and they can tell by how stiff your walk is where you are going. The moment increases in intensity every step you take. The office door is closed, always a scary sign. Knocking on it you hear a "come in!" and slowly you open the door and step into what is likely to be an uncomfortable conversation.
Or is it?
Management integrity determines these moods in organizations. Some organizations feel this way every day: the chilling "communication" time with the boss. Others feel it is no big deal, just another task at work they need to complete good or bad. Integrity is not only part of character, but defined in the actions of managers as well.
How does one define integrity in management? Integrity means many things to many people, but what matters is not how a manager defines their integrity, but how their bosses, peers and directs define it. The moment anyone gets told "You lack integrity" the immediate answer from the accused is "No I don’t", and rightly so: what needs to be communicated is not the character of the individual but their actions.
Executives and managers that do not put integrity first will fail in the long term. The manager who berates their directs and peers may have a short term gain in productivity, but it is guaranteed not to last. Integrity is the underlying lubricant of management: the greasing of the gears that is necessary for the machine to function. Those who lack integrity in their actions are similar to an engine driving without oil, the gears and parts driven increase in friction and eventually the entire engine seizes. Even if the engine doesn’t seize, it is ineffective to push the engine harder when it is not necessary.
Integrity is defined by the actions of the individual. In order to be effective, managers in organization need to apply positive integrity in all their actions with everyone around them. Effective decisions still need to happen, but management integrity will help reduce resistance. With the realization of integrity in mind, change processes will happen faster, organizational performance will improve, and the overall contribution of the organization to society will increase as a whole.