Integrity Matters
March 24, 2004

Integrity still key in hiring

Question: (E-106)

Dear Jim:

As an employer, what are the right things to look for in an employee? How does one identify integrity? Can integrity increase team effectiveness?

Response:

The answers to your three questions are: Integrity is what you look for, observation is how you find it and yes, integrity among leaders is a key to success.

Regarding your first question about what to look for in an employee, the following wisdom, from an unknown source, is a great place to start, and it begins with integrity:

"When selecting individuals to join an organization, or entrusting them with the responsibilities of leadership, one must value:

"Integrity above motivation, motivation above capacity, capacity above wisdom, wisdom above experience, experience above knowledge, and knowledge above training."
"What must be known and considered is not a list of claimed positions or achievements, but the qualities and characteristics of the person."

As you know, integrity will always be apparent in the consistency of the actions of those who have it. More often than not, those with integrity recognize their own imperfections, acknowledge their mistakes matter of factly, and are aware that their flaws are only fatal when ignored or denied.

Integrity will thrust itself upon an organization when leaders understand values, people and communication.

In November 1994, a client asked for our help in addressing conflicts between and among the company's top leadership. We interviewed a dozen senior-level executives and came up with this observation, recommendation and solution to their problem:

"Understand the required skill sets to make their team productive; are valued by and bring value to the organization; are committed to the vision, mission and strategy; and are signed on to the organization's supported behavior and culture, then no issue can polarize the group or create destructive behaviors."

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