Abby was upset her boss put her through a 360 evaluation process. She was even more unhappy after receiving the feedback. In fact, she was shocked, angry and disbelieving because there was absolutely no way she was unethical, thoughtless or lacking in credibility and integrity. How could people think that of her?!
In following the trail of bread crumbs to the root cause of her issues, Abby was amazed to discover it was her propensity for changing meeting schedules that had opened the door to the lack of trust, low satisfaction and poor performance that dogged her department.
“Don’t they know I’m busy and that other things come up? What’s cancelling or moving a meeting or two got to do with integrity?” she mused.
Abby was blissfully unaware she consistently cancelled and/or rescheduled meetings, for reasons both valid and trivial. Because she was out of touch with her behaviors, she missed the impact those behaviors had on how her team viewed her and how they interpreted her behaviors. From her team’s perspective:
Abby didn’t honor her commitments so her word meant nothing. Because her word meant nothing, she had no integrity and couldn’t be trusted .And, because Abby held a high level position, acting that way must be the recipe for success
This slippery slope of illogical assumptions had eroded Abby’s reputation with her employees. Abby’s prowess as a performer who always delivered the hard results had been trumped by her inability to be a leader who set an example for moral integrity by honoring her commitments. Commitments as small as setting meeting times.
3 ways for leaders to regain credibility
Abby was fortunate her organization viewed her as salvageable, valued her enough to provide coaching, and supported her long climb to being a leader who could balance both task completion and building relationships. To get things back on tract with her team, Abby agreed to:
1) Get organized. Many of those rescheduled meetings were the result of poor planning and her failure to write down meeting times.
2) Think and act like a leader of a team. Abby’s style was “me-focused.” If the opportunity arose to meet with someone she thought could help her, she grabbed it, thinking it was no big deal for her team to meet with her on another day. Working to move beyond her own self-interest and to consider the impacts of her actions on others was a big first step. “Successful managers all excel in the making, honoring, and remaking of commitments,” according to Donald N. Sull, HBR professor and author.
3) Connect and communicate more. Abby slowly embraced the fact that having integrity and being trusted were intangible assets crucial to her leadership success. Something as simple as showing up on-time for a meeting she had called was a building block for credibility, one of the foundations of trust. “Without integrity, nothing works,” writes Michael Jensen in The Three Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and a Great Company: Integrity, Authenticity, and Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself.
What other recommendations do you have for Abby?
Original article via Can we believe you now?.