It has come to my attention recently that people that I thought I was close to, that I had developed friendships with, and that I felt I could trust were, in fact, shitty, shady people who were simply playing me to try to get something from me. I am extremely frustrated by this news, and SO angry at myself….I’m smarter than this. Yet, somehow, in my stupid bloody desperation to have friends and a social life, I believe all of the lies, and open myself up to the possibilities…and then this happens. Again. I’m done.
Why can’t people just be who they say they are? Is it really that difficult to have integrity? I don’t get it. I have done a lot of reflecting over the weekend, trying to figure out if something I had done could have possibly led these people to believe that this kind of behavior was okay – and I got nothing. Nada. I’m trying to tell myself that their shitty behavior says nothing about me and everything about them, but….it’s hard. If you are finding that this can be an issue for you, here are five signs that you might be in trouble when it comes to integrity:
1. It’s all about you. Selfish people harm their organizations, families and friends. If it’s all about you, you won’t go the distance. Or you will, but you’ll hurt a lot of people in the process and you’ll never know what could have happened if you made it about others.
2. Your self esteem rises and falls with the opinion of others. A secure leader can see the right way and lead people there through tough conditions. An insecure leader will bend with every change in public opinion. Which means you’re not actually leading anyone, not even yourself.
3. You’re hiding things. You shouldn’t be telling everyone everything (that’s not healthy) – but someone needs to know everything. If you’re keeping secrets, you’re heading for a fall.
4. You fail to do what you said you were going to do. This isn’t just about keeping promises; it’s about keeping your word in everything. Better to say nothing and surprise someone by delivering than blurt out an intention you can’t fulfil. Ultimately, people lose confidence in you when you fail to deliver. It’s a trust issue. A fairly easy way to address this is to say less and deliver more. A great follow up system also helps (sometimes a lack of integrity isn’t even a moral issue – just an awareness and organization issue).
5. You make too many compromises. Leadership is not about getting everyone to like you or about finding the easiest path. It’s about discerning the best way forward. It’s about getting people to go where they wouldn’t go if it wasn’t for leadership. If you make too many decisional compromises or even a handful of personal compromises, your effectiveness will be–you guessed it– compromised.
Those points really make sense to me, how about you? The real question is, though – what do we do about it? Here are some tips to do this better, to be a better person, and less of an arsehole:
Meet your commitments. As an entrepreneur, when you are late with a committed business plan or meeting with an investor, you lose integrity. As a company, if your customer feels you did not meet your product quality commitment, your company loses integrity. Your view or reason doesn’t matter.
Honest to a fault. This term is usually used to mean honest as seen by other people. Some think honesty is only related to what is said, but not telling the whole truth is dishonest, even in court. If you can’t deliver a service because of your company’s mistake, integrity suggests that you include the real reason in your apology.
Strong and consistent moral code. The target here is to meet the receiver’s moral code expectation. If your product or process is marginal or worse, you will lose that customer. If you are trying to find an investor for your new gambling site, you probably will be disappointed.
Treat everyone with respect. No one likes to be dis-respected (from their perspective). Respect is difficult to define in the abstract, but quick to be recognized by the receiver. Be courteous and considerate to all on cultural differences, positions, races, ages, or any other types of distinctions.
Build and maintain trust. Trust is a reliance relationship built on character, strength, and ability. It usually takes several good acts to build, and one bad act to lose. To build company trust, you need to personalize your company. People do business with people. Even internationally known brands are judged daily by the quality of their people.
While these tips are meant to be taken into consideration in the business world, I don’t see why they wouldn’t apply to our personal relationships as well. We as a society need to treat those around us more carefully, and stop being so reckless with the feelings and emotions of others. We need to be more deliberate in our actions and our words, and we need to be more thoughtful of our fellow man. It seems that more people than ever before are all about themselves these days – gone is the time when we did unto others….we need to bring that kind of thinking back.