June 1, 2005
Workers require integrity as well
You write that leaders need integrity, but what about
Long-term viability requires both leaders and followers
to be single-minded and hard working.
Without integrity-centered followers, organizations
cannot be effective. Organizations need self-starters
who carry out duties with energy and assertiveness, take
risks and solve problems independently.
Almost 20 years ago, Robert E. Kelley, in the Harvard
Business Review, described the attributes of legitimate
followers. He mentioned that integrity-centered followers
are not passive, uncritical sheep who lack initiative.
Nor are they "yes" people who appear overly
deferential, expending energy on alliances with others
like themselves and with insecure managers. Integrity-centered
do not play it safe, waiting to see which way the wind
blows before making a suggestion or taking action.
Effective followers also are committed to the organization
- its vision, mission and culture. They build their competence
and focus their efforts for maximum impact. They remain
engaged without needing to be the star. They exhibit
the core attributes of character, honesty, openness,
authority, partnership, performance, charity and graciousness.
Upfront about their ambition to get ahead, they desire
to earn as they learn.
Perhaps the most reassuring realization about effective
leaders and followers is their similarity. Each exhibits
initiative, self-control, commitment, talent, honesty,
credibility, courage and integrity.
Because you admire those who deliver your products
and services effectively, and you want them to continue
being productive, let them know. Integrity is essential
throughout organizations and is sustained through careful
hiring and thorough training. Effective leaders provide
public and private recognition.
How well do you measure up as a leader and a follower?
What steps are you prepared to take to improve?