As a manager you have responsibility for setting the example you want others to follow. You should not only demonstrate alignment of your actions with organizational policies and procedures but also by exhibiting high standards and values reflective of the organization. This means being genuine and forthright in all that you do both at work and during non-working time. You are an extension of the organization and will be expected to act accordingly at all times.
Manage with Integrity
Working in organizations can present us with situations that challenge what we value and even our moral code of conduct. Not all of your coworkers, managers or leaders will be professional or ethical. How you respond to such challenging situations can be developmental or even detrimental to your career. When such situations arise, be discreet and gather as much information as possible. Attempt to base your decision-making on facts and not hearsay. When possible, ask questions of your supervisor, mentor or of the individuals involved themselves but be cautious and keep in mind that questions about unethical or potentially illegal activities or those of a nature that conflicts with organizational policies or codes, may not be welcome. Such questions could also jeopardize your position or even your employment with the organization. While it may seem difficult to believe, not all questions are welcome by upper management—especially if they could be viewed as controversial or of a whistleblower nature.
Set the Example You Want Employees to Follow
Your direct reports will observe your behavior and oftentimes model it. They may not always understand what you do or why you do it so when possible, be transparent and practice open communication. You will most likely not be able to openly discuss certain aspects of your work such as budgets, personnel or matters of a confidential nature with employees. You may be able to share details that impact your attendance, productivity or other aspects of your work with your direct reports and possibly eliminate any questions that they may have about how you approach your work.
Recover from Mistakes
Making mistakes can prove quite valuable. They are opportunities to learn and develop and can be learning experiences for teams or entire organizations. Take responsibility for your mistakes as quickly as possible, apologize as appropriate and describe what action you will take to move forward.
- Employees notice how you act and treat others. Each interaction they have with you impacts their impression of your abilities and credibility.
- You are responsible for setting the example for employees.
- Identify three of the most critical behaviors you want your employees to demonstrate and ensure your actions exhibit them. Build reflection time into your schedule at least monthly and review the behaviors and your recent demonstration of them. Maintain this practice until the behaviors become habitual.