Demonstrate Integrity and Maintain Emotional Discipline
Every leader will either be a great example or a terrible warning. This requires you to be careful with how you choose to lead. Regardless of what you want to believe and what you think is fair, everything you do as a leader is watched. The words you speak, the actions you take, and the way you conduct yourself in and out of the workplace are more scrutinized than ever, and if you fail to demonstrate integrity and maintain emotional discipline, your employees will want nothing to do with you.
This has always been the case, but it is more important in today’s business climate because of the incredible shift in power that has taken place over the past 2 decades. When employees recognize a leader’s lack of character, it will cause them to lose respect for the leader, while simultaneously triggering them to become less inclined to put forth any significant effort. Employees look at leaders as a source of inspiration, feed off of their energy, and count on them to be strong. Additionally, they typically align their actions and behaviors with the way their leader behaves.
Actions such as emotional outbursts, failing to take accountability, and taking advantage of the power (and privilege) your role provides are all shortcomings that drive employees away. Though you may not believe these actions are important, perpetually missing the mark is always recognized by employees and creates a chasm that builds over time.
This has the potential to rock the very foundation of a leader’s relationship with his or her employees, while simultaneously causing the employees to reduce their ethical compass as well. This is no surprise, but the catastrophic effects of making mistakes today are magnified due to the way information is disseminated through organizations (and the world). Employees have a louder voice and more power than ever before. With seemingly everyone holding onto devices capable of sharing valuable information everywhere they go, the ability to highlight a leader’s failure to demonstrate integrity or maintain emotional discipline can be distributed quickly and easily, causing an otherwise stellar career to crumble almost immediately
This has been seen time and again by way of an unethical decision made by a prominent business leader, a self-focused action taken by a politician, and an ill-advised choice carried out by a police officer. While an individual could have demonstrated integrity and maintained emotional discipline for his or her entire career, a single indiscretion could destroy an otherwise clean record.
With the incredible speed at which change occurs, challenges arise, and markets fluctuate, the importance of being able to face adversity and remaining resolute and forthright cannot be overstated. This necessitates that a leader always demonstrates integrity and maintains emotional discipline.