The I in Integrity is You
I recently guested on The New Warehouse Podcast and one of the questions Kevin asked me involved culture and how do you establish the right culture for your building.
As I ran through what came to my mind it occurred to me everything that I was saying about manager actions was tied to one principal behavior, Integrity.
The word contains a core value that goes beyond what we do and how we behave as leaders in the workplace but a principal value for life outside the DC and how others see us and a behavior, we all respond to in others.
When I coach leaders new and experienced, I use a quote by Marlin Brando’s character Carmine Sabatini from the movie The Freshman that I believe encapsulates integrity in one ocean deep simple phrase “everything that I say by it’s nature is a promise.” Of course, the Brando delivery drives the impact but think about what his character is saying for a minute. His words are his bond as a leader, coach and mentor and whatever he says will be acted on with the importance it deserves no matter who he says it to.
As Managers that’s the responsibility we have taken on and one we should never take lightly our words are the bond between ourselves, the company we represent our co-managers and the associates we work with. We aren’t all Brando but along with the respect for position integrity builds the respect for the person in the leadership slot making everything you say have gravity and importance.
Once your team understands that you are a person of your word and that you will take action when required their attitudes and behaviors change as they see you listen to what they say and act on what needs to be done. It can be as simple as someone asking for more packing tape or as complex as discussions and ideas around a new process. Your behavior also travels up the command chain and drives home to leadership that you are a person to be trusted and have confidence in.
An important byproduct to remember is that once you are on this high ground people will act on what you say immediately so gauge your words and direction carefully and ensure you have given your team the ability to question you and your direction. Several times I have mentioned a task in passing not needing it to be completed right away and find it done as if it was the priority of the moment.
Make no mistake integrity cannot be taken lightly in fact it will define who and what you are as a manager and person. Additionally, all that impact in your words can put you in uncomfortable places but as in everything that is worthwhile, meaningful and right decisions aren’t always the easy ones but making these choices sets you apart from others and allows you to hold your head up when others around you may not have that same ability.