Posted on 16 May, 2016

6 Ways to Maintain Integrity and Kindness in Leadership

By Jacob Andreae in Numbered, Leadership, Career 6 Ways to Maintain Integrity and Kindness in Leadership

[Image Source: Mohamed Shawky]

When you’re in a leadership position, you will be seen one way or another. Make no mistake about that. How you’re seen is up to you. For anyone in a leadership position, maintaining integrity and kindness are essential for long-term success, both individually and as a team.

Here is an interview I did with the inspiring Louise Corrigan - Assistant Principal at Leanyer Primary School. Louise shares with me her thoughts on leadership and what it takes to be a successful leader.  Stay up-to-date by subscribing to JacobTV.

The way people feel valued is often the same way they give and receive love.

The focus for anyone in a leadership position needs to be on people rather than numbers. I’ve worked in environments where numbers (reducing expenses for example) have been the key influences in decision-making. These environments lack enthusiasm and staff turnover is huge. When decisions are made primarily for the numbers, it leaves people feeling unappreciated. Even in these environments, it’s possible to make decisions with people in mind. When people become the core focus for all decision making, creativity and productivity increase dramatically. These environments are highly enjoyable places to work and good people stick around, dedicating themselves to a well-understood common cause.

The three keys to developing a workplace blossoming with integrity and kindness are to:

  • Foster creativity
  • Attract and retain talented and knowledgeable staff
  • Foster creativity

Does your staff say they work ‘at’ your organisation, ‘for’ your organisation, or maybe they ‘are’ the organisation? If you want staff to take responsibility, feel important and included, speak highly of the organisation, be passionate, give their best effort, and hang around for the long-term, they must feel as though they ‘are’ the organisation. Language is an extremely powerful tool for creating a thriving organisation. Listen to the language your staff uses when they refer to your workplace. I’m going to take a chance and state that they probably don’t refer to themselves as ‘being’ the organisation. If they do, well done! You have created an amazing team with an amazing culture. If they don’t yet, here are 6 creative ways to develop a harmonious and highly performing team.

  1. Swap perspectives
    Put yourself in the shoes of your team. What do they do in their spare time? How happy are they in their personal life? What do they go home to when they leave work? Take the time to be empathetic to each and every person in your team. Listen to them. See where they come from. Feel what they might be feeling.
  2. Make kindness a priority
    Intentionally look for examples of kindness in your staff. Reward staff every time you become aware of any act of kindness. Create a random draw system whereby other team members enter people they see do something great into a draw. In this method, just the acknowledgement often becomes the reward. Alternatively, reward team members every single time you become aware of when they do something great. People are motivated by different things. Find what motivates people in your team. This is essentially how people express and receive love. Check out the ‘5 Languages of Love’ post, which I’ve linked at the bottom of this page. 
  3. Have staff regularly analyse the leaders
    Being in a leadership position means you’re going to be judged, whether you want to or not. Go through the right procedures to create a reliable and valid analysis and have your team formally analyse your performance. Empower your team to feel safe saying exactly what they think. Educate your team on how to receive feedback positively and provide feedback that fosters development in a supportive way.
  4. Socialise together
    Organise social events for everyone to spend time together away from the workplace. This should be done in a way that everyone finds fun, and hint; not everyone has fun in the same way. Therefore, mix it up. Allow your team to get to know each other outside of work and build bonds with each other on a personal level. Groups that spend time together outside of the workplace, are more cohesive in the workplace. 
  5. Create meaning
    Why do people work at your organisation? What’s their higher purpose? People in today’s society, more so than ever, are searching for meaning in the workplace. Financial incentive is not enough. People need meaning in what they do, and to feel valued. People feel valued in different ways. The way people feel valued is often the same way they give and receive love. Again, refer to the ‘5 Languages of Love’ post, which is linked below. Show your staff you value them by expressing gratitude on a regular basis and giving them your time. I bet you have very little time. But if you can move from a mindset of scarcity with time, to a mindset of your time being in abundance, and then dedicate that time to your staff, the results will take care of themselves. You can achieve more with less. I’ve linked another post below on how to move from scarcity to abundance with everything from money, to fun, to time.
  6. Speak highly of your competition
    In fact, don’t even call them your competition. Refer to people and organisations in your industry as your colleagues. Being supportive and promoting others in your industry, demonstrates your commitment to the industry and not self-fulfillment. DO NOT abuse this by EVER saying something negative about those in your industry, or anyone for that matter. Each time you say something positive, you enhance your trust. That trust is completely lost and never fully regained with one negative comment or action. Honestly promote the achievements, strengths and opportunities of others in your industry.

Establishing and maintaining your integrity and kindness in leadership lies in taking the time to listen, treat people with dignity, and put yourself in their shoes. The measure of success for any business should not be the financial bottom line. Caring for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing of your staff is a more difficult measure to evaluate but so much more valuable than any other measure of success.

How do/will you empower your team?

Read more about the 5 Languages of Love here and moving from Scarcity to Abundance here.

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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