The top 5 essential integrity habits

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Successful people live with integrity. They say what they do and they do what they say. They are trusted by those whom they interact with and they build healthy relationships with consummate ease. These relationships then help them to achieve bigger and better things.


David Finkel writes, 'as an entrepreneur, you're very much under a microscope. Your team watches you closely; your customers pay attention to small slices of their experiences with you and make up what type of person and company you are in their own heads. And so do your vendors and investors. All the more reason to live with integrity. The only way to live with integrity is to make a good habit of doing what is right, not what is easy.

Living with integrity

Here are what I consider to be five essential "integrity habits," which will have you behaving at your best and positively impacting your team.

Five essential integrity habits

Be on time

We have to start with first things first. Be on time--all the time. This simple behavior demonstrates to your team that you take your commitments seriously and live with integrity.

Sure it's easy to slip, and your team always seems willing to wait. But the message that being late sends hurts your credibility inside your company.

When you take appointments and deadlines seriously, so will your team. It is one behavior with a huge return on investment in terms of modeling accountability inside your company.

Too many companies implement respect in a hierarchical manner. Your time is not more important than an employee's time or a customer's time in their eyes. Being on time shows respect, and it makes a big difference to the receiver.

And of course you can rationalize why you didn't meet a stated deadline and no one will challenge you, but they will model the behavior you show them. So model the high standard of being on time, all the time.

Clarify all action items and deliverables in writing at the end of every meeting

One of the biggest reasons things get missed is because they weren't handed off cleanly to begin with. Many times the receiving party doesn't know just what they've been asked to do, or in fact they may not know that they've been asked to do anything at all.

Hence the need to clarify all action items and deliverables in writing. Not only does this make sure that you've captured all your action items, but it is also a powerful way to role model how you want your team to behave.

Wherever possible, number the commitments so that they are absolutely clear.

Clearly state what you can't commit to

"Phantom deliverables" are those things that the other person thinks you committed to but you didn't.

As a leader, you need to exhibit great communication by making any phantom deliverables you see come out of a meeting explicit. That way, if you can commit to that deliverable, you do so, and if you can't, you clarify that you are not committing to it.

"Close" the accountability loop.

It's one thing to meet your commitments, but it's another to make sure that the other parties involved get that you've done so. So "close" the loop.    Mark, as promised, here is the Data Form Proposal due to you tomorrow...

Be aware of your stress behaviors.

It's been said that adversity and pressure don't so much make the person as they reveal the person. What you do at stressful moments leaves a magnified impression on your team, your customers, your vendors, and your investors. So let stress be a trigger for you to take a deep breath and behave at your best.

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