“Integrity” is a word that we often use, but not many of us can define. I’ve probably sat through countless discussions about what it means to have integrity; this is the best definition that I’ve heard:
Integrity is our ability to do the right thing when no one is watching.
In one of my management classes, we discussed a scenario about what we would do if we catch a friend/co-worker doing drugs in the bathroom at a company-sponsored event and we are the only two people who knew of this event. Would you have the integrity to report this incident to the company, even though there was no one else watching? Would you be able to stand up to your friend? Would you be able to accept the fact that your friend may be fired if you report the incident?
Every day, leaders are faced with tough decisions that may affect the lives of many people. Regardless of how unpopular the decisions may be or how much pressure there is, we have to understand that the leaders’ job is not to make everyone happy, but to act in the best interest of the collective organization. We choose our leaders because (1) we believe their actions will reflect positively on the organization, (2) they have the qualifications to achieve the organization’s mission and vision, and (3) they have the ability to do the right thing when no one else is watching. After all, if our leaders don’t even value integrity, why should we?
Having been involved in various clubs and organizations on campus throughout my college career, I have seen situations where people were unwilling to step up and take leadership roles. I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to blame them for not wanting to step up, because the reason might be that they were simply not ready to step up. There were over 40 members in that organization, so how is it that not a single person was willing to step up?
I believe the issue in these situations came from lack of mentorship. As managers in our organizations, we already have plenty of stuff on our plates, whether it be answering phone calls/emails/text messages, being in and out of meetings, and everything else in between. Sometimes, we just get too caught up in today’s activities that we just don’t think about what’s going to happen in the long term.
In order to be effective leaders, managers understand their duty to motivate and inspire their employees. Managers also have a role as mentors to their employees. Mentorship is based on the willingness of both parties to learn and teach. Think for a minute about the person who inspired and coached you. They saw that you had the potential to make a difference within your organization and they invested their time and effort in you so that you can develop to your full potential. Although it might be a challenge to make the time for your employees, but a small investment can go a long way.
My name is Xiaoteng Ma. I am currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in Business Management and minoring in Information Systems. This blog will focus on organizational leadership and how you can become the best leader in your company, and possibly the world’s best boss (just like Michael Scott).
One of the first things that I learned in my Management courses is the phrase that “people join organizations, but leave their bosses”. This quote stood out to me because I have always wondered what it was about the bosses that made people want to leave them. I kept thinking about this because I want to be a boss one day, but I definitely don’t want people to leave because of something I might have done to them, especially if I had control over it.
I’ve been in various leadership positions in the past three years. Right now, I work as a supervisor where I oversee 100+ employees. I have also been heavily involved in Greek Life, having taken exec positions in my own fraternity, as well as the Interfraternity Council, the governing body for all social fraternities on campus. I’ve seen and tried some things that worked and some things that didn’t, and I’ve also dealt with people of all kinds of personalities. As a person and a leader, I believe there is always room for growth and that a person should never settle for where they are now. What I will be writing about can be applied not only at your job, but in other aspects of your life as well.