December 31, 2003
for integrity in a leader's eyes
in the human resources department for a high-tech company.
Our business is way down, like most companies in our industry.
Having lost 40 percent of our employees over the past
two years has created a lot of wear and tear on me because
I'm involved in outplacement. I really don't
have any good news for the laid-off staff. There are no
new jobs to be had in our area for most skills, and it
doesn't look like we'll be rehiring any time
what's really bothering me is our senior management.
They seem to be in denial. There's so much money
being wasted. We still have our corporate jets, fancy
perks and big expense accounts. There's also a rumor
that the CEO and COO paid themselves substantial bonuses
all companies run by greedy, me-first people?
don't know if I can look one more coworker in the
eye as I hand them their severance check and try to explain
why they are being laid off.
the other hand I find it tough to stand on the moral high
ground when I feel so desperate to keep my own job so
that I can take care of my family.
you cannot see integrity flickering in leaders' eyes,
engineer a plan for your own exit.
cannot represent integrity in an organization that has
none. Balance your own desire to sustain your personal
and organizational values while simultaneously remaining
responsible for the health and welfare of those you love
for the future. If nothing substantive changes where you
are, you will probably move on. Establish the right criteria
for responsible leadership. You can develop the list from
what you see done poorly where you are and from what might
also be done well.
this list into a performance scorecard. Utilize the information
in future interviews. Even painful learning is learning.
your own needs and those for whom you are responsible.
what the right (sensible and prudent) time is to move
on, only after thoroughly addressing financial needs
and future opportunities.
leadership next time that more clearly fits with your
definition of integrity in leadership.
on when you find the right situation.