Tag Archives | Integrity

Unrelenting Integrity

Business shaking hand with a clientThere are cheaters all around us.

VW diesel emissions. Russia Olympian doping. Subprime mortgage lenders. Lance Armstrong. Fantasy football.

Why do people cheat? I think there are hundreds of reasons. To win. To gain unfair advantage. To make more money. To look good.

Self-serving players in our midst don’t always cheat – but cheating is always about the cheater winning and others losing.

What our nations, companies, communities, and families need today is unrelenting integrity.

I define unrelenting integrity as the daily demonstration of kindly honoring one’s service commitments to others.

It’s about holding oneself accountable for one’s actions and promises. One shall not compromise one’s values, no matter what.

And it starts with each of us. We cannot wait for “someone else” or “everyone else” to embrace integrity as a core value, as a way of living and interacting each day. Each of us just need to embrace it and live it.

The good news is demonstrating unrelenting integrity isn’t complex. There is no club to join. There are no monthly dues required. There are no meetings to attend.

There is simply you, making a bold commitment to make your promises clearly and keep your promises daily.

How might it work? It would probably involve behaviors like these: Every day, you hold yourself accountable for your commitments and actions. You attack problems and processes – not people. You accept responsibility and promptly apologize if you jeopardize trust or respect. You align your daily plans, decisions, and actions with your purpose and values, in service to others.

That “in service to others” piece is important. You could have strong integrity to your own, selfish gains! I don’t think that’s what this world needs of us inhabitants right now. The world needs a strong network of trusted players who work with – not against – others.

Many of us make promises without fully committing to the time, energy, and investment those promises require. Tiny HR’s 2015 Employee Engagement Report found that the single largest productivity killer in the workplace is co-workers’ lack of follow through and communication. 35 percent of respondents reported this issue!

Our integrity is maintained with every kept promise. We can’t be casual about keeping our commitments or we’ll miss an important deadline. If we miss a deadline, our integrity will take a big hit.

If we live in unrelenting integrity, we might create a trend – in our work team, among our friends, in our neighborhoods – where others embrace unrelenting integrity in their lives. Getting others to embrace unrelenting integrity is beyond our control . . . but if we can move the needle a bit that direction, greater trust, respect, and dignity might occur.

How do we eat this “integrity” elephant? One bite, one kept promise, at a time.

All the time.

What do you think about living with “unrelenting integrity”? What have I missed? In what ways can you increase your commitment to your commitments? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © nd3000 – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Mean People Suck.

child reaching for the ball behind the fenceThere are mean people around us. We don’t have to look hard.

In my Long Beach, CA, neighborhood in the ’60’s, an elderly man lived on our street. There were fifty 8-12 years olds on that street. We played in the street and in each others’ yards. We rode our bikes. We built forts. We operated lemonade stands. We ran around as superheroes with bathroom towels as capes.

Anytime a kid crossed the elderly man’s yard, he yelled at us. If a ball rolled onto his grass, he yelled at us. If a toy went over the fence into his back yard, it was “lost forever.” He complained regularly to our parents about how “unruly” us kids were.

He was the “grumpy old man” in our neighborhood. We did our best to stay away from him.

We see mean behavior between and among family members – to each other and to people outside the family, daily.

At work, we see people acting mean all the time. The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 study of US workplaces found that 65 million workers are affected by bullying. “Teasing” takes the form of demeaning and discounting of others’ ideas, efforts, and accomplishments. Cliques form, where insiders are valued and outsiders are scorned. A boss tells a team member their report is “rubbish” – in front of the team.

A recent New York Times article outlined the negative impact on health when workplace incivility reigns.

Mean people are sometimes allowed to get away with mean behavior while keeping their jobs. This week, photos were released of an all-pro NFL player’s ex-girlfriend’s injuries. The player was suspended last year by the league for domestic violence. The release of these pictures has raised the call for the player to be suspended indefinitely.

This player’s mean behaviors continue. The player was seen getting into a confrontation with teammates and a coach on the sideline during a recent game which the team lost – yet the player remains a highly-compensated member of the team.

The player’s new team apparently sees talent as more important than character. The player will start in this Sunday’s game.

Why do people act mean? There might be many valid reasons for people to feel badly about themselves. It could be that they were unloved as a child. It could be that he or she – or a family member – has health problems or financial problems. It could be that they have experienced powerful role models of mean bosses over their careers – so they demonstrate the same meanness.

It could be one of thousands of contributing factors.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why some people act mean. They don’t have to take out their frustrations on others – yet they do. Our choice is what to do with mean people. I suggest we have three options:

Tolerate. We can choose to remain involved with mean people – and say little about their behavior. Toleration means we don’t actively attempt to redirect the mean person’s behavior. We experience it – and the consequences of it, on ourselves and others – daily.

Insulate. We can choose to remain connected with mean people but we intentionally limit our exposure to their meanness. We protect ourselves and our family members or team members by being assertive about what behaviors are appropriate and what behaviors are inappropriate. If mean behaviors blossom, we can address the unkind behavior (while valuing the person) in a neutral, firm fashion – then leave the family dinner or the team meeting. This approach means we must be “on guard” but willing to engage with the mean person, so long as they don’t behave badly.

Eliminate. We can choose to separate ourselves from mean people. We may have to change jobs within our company or to even change companies to eliminate interactions with a mean player. We may choose to not attend family events to ensure we’re not confronted by the bad behavior. We don’t judge, we just move on.

What is the best option for you? For your own well-being, I highly recommend insulation or elimination. Life is too short.

How do mean people in your workplace behave? Does your organization tolerate that mean behavior? How do you insulate or eliminate mean people from your daily lives? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © .shock – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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To Stop Bullying, Stand Up and Show Up

Business group in a row. leader with open handBella is a 5th grader who is battling a life-threatening blood disorder. Last year – as part of Team Impact which pairs children with serious illnesses with college athletic teams – Bella signed a “letter of intent” with the Denver University Division 1 women’s volleyball team. Bella helps out at volleyball practice, has a locker with her name on it, and is the team’s biggest cheerleader.

One symptom of Bella’s illness is hearing loss. She wears hearing aids. At her elementary school recently, a few classmates began bullying her about it.

Her “big sisters” on the DU volleyball team heard about the bullying and decided that “no one was going to mess with one of our family,” one player said. Nine of the college players showed up at Bella’s classroom the next day. Their unexpected visit cheered Bella up – and their presentation to Bella’s class emphasized that different is good, bullying is not.

The team reacted promptly to hearing about Bella’s mistreatment. They stood up and showed up to support their young “team mate” and to persuade Bella’s peers to be kind to everyone.

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 USA survey found that over 27 percent of respondents have experienced bullying in the workplace. Respondents said that 56 percent of workplace bullying is initiated by bosses.

Worse, the study found that 72 percent of employers deny, discount, rationalize, encourage, or defend bullying.

The instituted offers solutions and resources for targets of abuse and for employers.

Others are standing up against bullying. A recent report in Sports Illustrated examined the prevalence of abuses of power by college coaches of their athletes. Bullying by coaches has been documented for decades. The difference today? The power of social media.

Last May, one football player shared his story of bullying by his coach on Twitter. His experience led to other athletes – current and former players of this coach – to add their experiences. “We had the exact same issues! Thanks for standing up!” one former player tweeted. The groundswell caused the college chancellor to initiate an investigation by outside attorneys. Within weeks, the report validated the abuse of players by the coach – and he was fired one week before the team’s opener.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, has studied positive emotions for decades. In looking at bullying by college coaches, she explains, “in terms of bonding, loyalty, commitment to a team and personal development over time, negativity doesn’t work as well as positivity.”

Ohio State’s Dr. Ben Tepper has made studying abusive leadership in the workplace his specialty. When asked by the NCAA to compare coach-athlete relationships to his database of boss-employee relationships, Tepper found that abusive leadership is two to three times as prevalent in college sports as it is in workplaces.

Tepper explains, “the studies all say that there’s no incremental benefit to being hostile. Hostility always produces diminishing returns.”

When abusive treatment happens, when bullying happens, don’t look the other way. Stand up and show up. Point out the abusive behavior. Ask that it stop.

You may not fix the bullying behavior – but you’ll raise awareness that it’s happening. If enough of us stand up and show up, maybe we can reduce abusive leadership.

Have you experienced bullying in the workplace? How have your proactive organizations responded to quash bullying? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © FotolEdhar – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Through Thick and Thin

Green forest summer background, MontenegroTrue friends stick with us even when times are tough – “through thick and thin,” is the mantra.

True leaders do the same. They remain in service to their team members even when faced with undesirable circumstances.

The origination of this phrase is found in Olde English. The phrase ‘through thicket and thin wood’ was a literal description of any attempt to stroll through the heavily wooded English countryside.

The earliest written form of this phrase is found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Reeve’s Tale, specifically), written in the late 14th century!

Today we find greater self-serving behaviors from leaders and team members than we find activities that serve others. Western individualism and the acceptance of an “I win, you lose” competitive work environment breeds exactly what we’d expect. Servant leadership is seen as all too rare.

In fact, when leaders act in service to team members – for the greater good of team members – it’s big news!

Here’s an example. In Austin, TX, a popular Chick-fil-A restaurant reopened in August after a five month remodel. The owner paid all 50 employees’ their salaries during the closure, despite no revenues coming in. In fact, he gave all employees a $1-an-hour raise during that timeframe.

The franchise owner of 15 years, Jeff Glover, said, “I don’t want my group to have to forgo their salaries.” He added, “It would be a real financial crisis for the 50 families represented by the workers here to have to go five months without a job.”

Glover’s decision shocked his employees. Paying employees during a shutdown is highly unusual in the food service industry – possibly in every industry.

Why did this restaurant owner make that investment? Over the short term, he’s bleeding cash. Remodels are expensive. Paying staff salaries during the remodel just adds to the net loss over that five month period.

He did it because he genuinely cares for his team members and their families. If those team members went out to find other work during the remodel, they might not have been available to rejoin his team when the restaurant re-opened.

He did it because it makes financial sense. His initial outlay kept his talented, engaged team together. Glover now has experienced team members who can help mentor new hires (the store added a third drive through lane in addition to expanding the dining room) and get them up to speed quickly and efficiently.

He did it because it makes “heart” sense. His employees’ commitment to Glover, the restaurant, the culture, their customers, and their team members skyrocketed. Their pride in their team and in the customer experience translates into cooperative interaction, genuine service efforts, and proactive problem solving.

Servant leadership is not the norm but the benefits are astounding. If you want employees to stick with you through thick and thin, you must do the same for them, first.

What is your experience? To what degree is your boss self-serving or in service to others? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Vlada Zhikhareva – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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September 2015 Leadership Development Carnival

leadership_carnival logoI’m delighted to host this month’s Leadership Development Carnival.

This carnival features thought leaders in leadership, engagement, service, and culture every month. I know you will enjoy these great posts – please share them if you find them valuable.

Wally Bock says it’s not the difference between quitting and not quitting. Winners quit smart. Learn more in his post, Winners Never Quit?

Neal Burgess believes that leaders know how to bring out the best in their employees – especially those who are creative and innovative. These employees know how to generate, create and produce ideas and turn them into breakthrough results. Learn how in Bringing Out the Innovator in Your Employees.

Moving from peer to boss is one of the most common and challenging transitions in a leader’s career. In Randy Conley‘s post, Moving from Peer to Boss – 5 Steps to Success, he outlines five ways that anyone can employ to move or coach someone through this career milestone.

David Dye might raise some eyebrows with his post, The Leadership Heresy You Can’t Live Without.

If you’ve ever been passed over for a promotion, Joel Garfinkle says now is the time to act. His post, How to Ask For and Get a Promotion, offers a list of actions you can take immediately to improve your visibility.

David Greer‘s post, Trust from the Inside Out, shares his insights after a series of eye surgeries. His focus is that us humans judge quickly, often based on what we see – not on what is within the other person’s heart.

Understanding the world around us is essential to effective leadership. Nobody is more important to your leadership success than understanding your boss. Bruce Harpham‘s post outlines the 4 part observation strategy to understand your boss.

Mike Henry, Sr. suggests leaders can improve their effectiveness with an Attitude Adjustment – Focus on Others.

John Hunter asks, “Why do you hire dead wood? Or why do you hire live wood and kill it?” in his post on the Deming Institute.

Effective leaders make use of compelling stories. Karin Hurt shares her “STORIES” method for crafting exciting stories that will energize your leadership and team.

When introverted and extroverted leaders take a step back and approach conflict in a healthy way, they can achieve extraordinary results. Jennifer Kahnweiler‘s Smartblogs post, Introverted and Extroverted Leaders: Bring on the Battles helps both focus on the results they are each trying to achieve.

Jill Mallack offers advice for leaders to keep in touch with what’s going on. Don’t be blindsided: Be a Leader Who is in the Know.

Susan Mazza‘s post, How Leaders Drive Behavior, examines how people naturally start to notice what you choose to frequently shine the spotlight on. That’s how they learn what they should focus on, which amplifies whatever message you send.

Dan McCarthy‘s article, 3 Little Words, explains why “I trust you” is a vitally important message in our workplaces.

Robyn McLeod presents WAIT! Why am I talking? where she shares the acronym WAIT, which strengthens your communication skills, listening skills, and leadership skills.

Eileen McDargh wonders “Is Amazon’s Bezos Busted?” Eileen posits that Bezos is pretty disconnected from the daily reality of Amazon’s corporate headquarters.

As part of the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, Jon Mertz got Daniel Pink’s take on generations, career, and leadership. Pink even shares the one thing he believes Millennials should remember when developing their own leadership skills and mindsets.

Jennifer V. Miller tapped practitioners and experts in career management and leadership development to determine the best practices in filling a company’s leadership pipeline. Read their recommendations in Tips for Running a High-Potential Leadership Development Program.

Want to learn How Feedback Can Help Your Employees Succeed and Grow? Read Tanveer Naseer‘s post.

Do you include stories that influence people in your leadership tool kit? Or do you resort to data-speak because that’s what you learned to do? In her article, Learn to Tell Stories that Influence, Dr. Anne Perschel presents six elements will help you build effective stories.

Steve Roesler offers three practical actions for leaders who might be wondering what they can do to coach their people in his post, Do Your Leaders Coach?

John Spence‘s video blog, Vision, Mission, and Values: More Than Words On Paper, outlines why John thinks your organization needs to formalize these elements.

In 3 Lessons from the Attack on Amazon, Michael Lee Stallard shares three important lessons for leaders.

Jesse Lyn Stoner believes people don’t resist change. Change is a normal and natural part of living. The only time you stop changing is when you’re dead. What people resist is having change imposed on them. In her post, 3 Guidelines to Avoid Resistance to Change, she outlines ways to invite people to participate in the change process that will minimize resistance to change.

In his article, Collective Leadership: From the Bottom Up, Jim Taggart looks at leadership through the lens of a volatile, unpredictable global economy, driven heavily by technological change. What has happened to leadership in the process? Has it evolved to become more “collective” in our interconnected, complex world? Read Jim’s post to learn more.

Linda Fisher Thornton ponders What’s the Difference Between Ethical and Unethical Selling? See if you can relate to these descriptions of ethical and unethical selling, and take a moment to consider the important leadership questions that follow.

Bill Treasurer‘s post, Leadership is Freak’n Hard, explains how good leaders nearly always start out as bad leaders. They become more effective by first becoming less ineffective. Doing that requires a careful understanding of what makes leadership so freak’n hard.

Thomas J. Walter presents Creative Destruction: Philosophy in Leadership, where he shares how his leadership team moved from maintenance and management to intellectual stimulating actions to boost effectiveness.

One of the best ways to nip a turnover issue in the bud and to potentially gain a competitive advantage over competitors is to fix your leadership issues, with the greatest bang for your buck being at the frontline level. This post from Mary Ila Ward suggests 2 Steps to Keep People from Quitting.

And from my Driving Results Through Culture blog, a rather sobering post about employee engagement – Work: Where the Human Spirit Goes to Die.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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