One of the essential parts of leading a business is creating the right culture within your team. A business should have a set of core values which you had set in stone from the moment you started the company. These core values may include trust, honesty and accountability; however, you cannot have these three elements without integrity.
Building a culture of integrity is essential to your business in multiple ways. Firstly, if your team understands that the company will always do the right thing and they see this starting with you, then they will build a trust with you that will improve their work ethic and increase the level of loyalty they have for the business. This will also improve your productivity.
You will also build stronger relationships with your internal and external stakeholders, including your customers. A company that demonstrates a culture of integrity will stand out against the competition. Over time you will build trust and respect with your consumers. This will lead to long-lasting loyalty and repeat business. It will also bring you many recommendations for service, which will increase your growth.
Building this culture starts with you. You are the lighthouse that guides your team and keeps them on track and working towards your core values. If everyone looks to you and knows you will always do the right thing, then it will bring your workforce together and inspire them to follow in your footsteps. Even when things go wrong, when the team looks to you, if you can demonstrate accountability, then this will make everyone pull together and help you to work through any fall out the company may suffer.
If you have strong integrity, then your team will also trust you to make difficult decisions. When a leader doesn’t demonstrate this quality, then they very quickly lose the faith of their team. This means that when big decisions need to be made, your employees may not be working in the same direction. If a team is disjointed from the core, then the company has the potential to fail.
One of the best ways to build any culture within your business is to get amongst the daily tasks and spend time with everyone. Hiring a virtual assistant could give you more free time so you can dedicate yourself every week to being a part of your team. Work with them and run through any issues that might be apparent on jobs or tasks your company is working on. When your team is dealing with pitching, they may be over-promising services, and this doesn’t demonstrate a level of integrity. While the pitching process is extremely competitive and you want to stand out, if you win the job and then under-deliver, you won’t get repeat business, and your reputation will suffer. Go through all new pitches with any new members of your team, keeping your eye on the way they communicate with new clients. Ensure they understand what makes your company stand out from the rest—your unique selling point. Help them to realise that this is enough to make your company shine in the pitching process. You won’t need any bells or whistles to sell your services, and this won’t lead to consumers being put off by over-inflated promises that don’t look realistic.
Encourage your team to speak to you. Make sure that you don’t cut them off when they come to you with concerns or new ideas. If your office is open and you are always willing to listen and encourage the development of new ideas, then you will find that the innovative ideas within your company increase. You will need to be honest about the viability of new ideas, but try not to criticise too harshly. Explain where you think the idea needs improvement or why it won’t work within the market. Make sure you have time to digest it though, sometimes we focus inside the box, and our employees can see a different perspective. Give your team room to grow and flourish but don’t over encourage and then drop their suggestions. If it’s got merit, develop it, if it doesn’t, explain gently but help them to rethink and come back.
Always remember that you are the inspiration for the business and everyone within it as you think about creating a culture of integrity within your team. Your behavior will set the values that your team has and will be what your consumers feel when they engage with your company. So stay true to the core values you set out at the very beginning and let them shine out and stand strong.