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Integrity Part II

In last month’s HM, we discussed integrity…or the lack thereof…in the workplace.  It’s all too easy to cite examples of how bosses and co-workers can skirt the truth in favor of advancing their careers. But wait, all is not lost!  There are people who lead by example and manage their career and that of others by using the Golden Rule.  Consider the following examples:

Ask anyone who’s worked with Tom LaSorde, the new CEO of Daimler Chrysler’s Chrysler Group, and they’ll tell you he got to where he is because he’s clean…and integrity is at the top of his list.  He’s a grassroots person who climbed the Chrysler ladder of success quicker than anyone else in its history, and primarily due to this fact. Aside from the CEO level, how about some “real-world” examples?

A business colleague well-known to us (let’s call him Joe) relocated to a different city and searched out a new position.  He found what he thought was the ideal role, but as a condition of employment had to sign a non-compete contract.  Joe’s new employer said it was merely a formality, but soon after Joe found it wasn’t a good fit and resigned.

Shortly afterwards, he interviewed with another prospective employer and was quickly short listed for a second interview.  At this point, he decided he’d better “come clean” about the existence of a non-compete agreement, even though acquaintances suggested he simply omit that information in the hopes it would never surface. However, as Joe had a strong moral fiber and integrity about him, he decided to be upfront and suffer the consequences, if any. The good news is that Joe’s new prospective employer appreciated his candor and honesty, and chose to hire him on a contract trial basis until his non-complete went away.  A win-win for employer and employee in this case.

Recently, we approached a candidate about a prospective position with a good Client of ours. We had a good discussion, and it became apparent that she was well-suited for the role, and would see both an elevation in responsibility, career advancement and compensation if she were the successful candidate.  However, she came back to us the very next day and said, “I’m sorry, but just last week, I accepted a position with another company. Although this sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for, I have to be fair to them and decline to go further on this search…but I have the perfect person in mind, and they’re interested.”

She may be in our database of inactive candidates, but if she ever comes back to us, we obviously have a very high opinion of her.  We wished her well, because her new employer is hiring the type of person we’re all looking for.

Citing a personal example, when I first began in the executive recruitment business, my new employer started to train me on their success tactics.  I was told that, when I interviewed a candidate, I should ask them where else they had been interviewing. Then, I was to call these companies with openings and see if I could also submit candidates in the hopes of making a placement. I refused, as it went against my integrity…and I was summarily dismissed and told I didn’t have the right makeup to make it in this business. That was in 1985, so I beg to differ.

At the end of the day, remember that you need to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about the principles you stand for and that others know you uphold. It may not always appear as the shortest way to success, but guaranteed it’s the one you want others to know you for, and a mold for your employees to follow.

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