When my husband and I returned from Canada a couple of months ago, we came back through Detroit, Michigan to visit some friends.
One morning we decided to have a late breakfast at the local IHOP. The experience was very eye-opening. While the restaurant experience was quite adequate, it was the conversation between two young females, college sophomores, that made the experience stand out in my mind.
They had been working over the summer at the university bookstore, and were preparing for the up-coming semester. Even though they work together, they had met at this IHOP so they could, “really talk.” Part of the conversation I overhead went something like this:
Female #1: “I stole my books for this semester. I figure, if they are going to treat me that way, I might as well get something out of it. Besides, she never pays for anything she takes out of the store.”
Female #2: “Oh, I know it. I’ve started just taking whatever I want, too. I know it’s stealing, but they don’t pay me enough to work there and put up with everything I have to put up with.”
Shocked? I was . . . and wasn’t. I’ve heard of this type of thing happening before, although it has been awhile. But then, it has been quite some time since I’ve been in a “regular job.” Granted these girls are young and immature, but this same scenario plays out all day every day all over corporate America as well.
The topic I want to discuss today is not so much whether these girls are right or wrong. That is obvious.
What I want to discuss, is how this type of behavior gets started in the first place.
Parts of the conversation I overhead and have not yet shared with you were centered around these girls’ general dislike for their supervisor. Now, of course, these girls could just be jealous and I feel quite certain that they were not cutting her any slack, either. However, based on my experience over the years, I would say that the things they shared back and forth about this woman were fairly accurate, even if exaggerated just a little. So what’s my point?
Well, I’d like to take some time to talk about the responsibility of the owner/manager in a situation like this.
After overhearing the conversation between these two women, I began reflecting on other experiences I’ve had, and paying closer attention to current situations I find myself in as well. Here’s what I’ve concluded.
If the owner or manager of a group of people displays obvious signs of lack of integrity, the employees mirror that behavior almost exactly. In other words, if the boss takes long lunches, so will his workers. If the boss steals from the company, so will her employees. If the boss lies to clients, what choice does that leave the employees? See where I’m going with this?
Now, I know that there are many examples of people who did they right thing even though the company, supervisor, or owner did otherwise. However, those examples compared to the masses who do as they’re told, or do as they are done unto, are becoming fewer. Yes, I could turn a blind eye to these things as they happen all around me and that, in the end, is probably what I will do. But for today’s post, I want to challenge all of you are in the thick of this, to do the same. Furthermore, I want to challenge all of you who are business owners or supervisors to change any existing patterns that could even remotely be described as a lack of integrity, on the basis that you are modeling those behaviors to your employees.
Don’t be stupid enough to think no one knows what you’re doing. (And by the way, the more you defend your actions, the guiltier you look, and the guiltier we know you are.) So stop saying you work five days a week when everyone knows you work only three. It would be better to say, “I’m the owner of this company. The three days I work are jammed packed with activities and if I want to take two days off, I can. That’s why I’m the boss. I pay you to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.” Say it and be done with it; don’t lie. Lying always sets you up for passive-aggressive behavior. It also sets you up to be disliked, and once you are disliked . . .
I guess what I’m trying to say is, be honest and be nice.
Also know that you’re being watched. If you own a bookstore, and you are going to take some books but make a legitimate accounting journal entry on the books for personal use for them, take them when no one is watching, or make sure the people who see you know the entry will be made. If it were my store, I would take supplies when only the bookkeeper was around and tell him or her to make the journal entries for me, and then make sure they did so. I would also give employees an extra discount for their text books, and maybe even have a special event for them so that everyone sees who is buying what. It is not difficult to keep everything “above board,” in fact, it has been my experience that it is easier to just be honest than to lie and have to keep track of which lie you told to whom. Every time I catch someone I work with in a lie, I never say anything, it just makes me know that I cannot trust this person. I gradually cut my ties to that person. Others do the same. So if you’ve been noticing people backing away from you, it means they are on to you, and you’d better come clean, or fire everyone and start over!
It is important to not only be above board and honest about everything, but to also look above board and honest about everything. I had a client recently who got into trouble because of “appearances.” If it looks bad, it is bad, at least for you.
Integrity in the workplace is a huge topic in corporations. Once it gets out of hand among thousands of employees scattered around hundreds of locations and departments, it can be very difficult to reign back in. But it nearly always starts at the top. A manager notices an executive lying to the client. He, in turn, is forced to lie to the client or lose his job. He then must also lie to his department about the deal made with the client. The employees in that department find out about the cover up. They can either “squeal” and lose their jobs, or put up with it. They decide to grin and bear it, but become passive-aggressive, stealing company property, and/or time. This goes on and on, but it always starts at the top.
Are you at the top?
You can subscribe to this blog here.
GET CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE NOW When you’re ready to stop talking about changing and ready to actually create the life you want, you’ll want to purchase my latest e-book to help you get started and on the right path. I share my latest success tips and how I’ve applied 20 years of solid business principles and the law of attraction to acquiring the life of my dreams. Wake Up and Create the Life You Want: A Guide to Self-Empowerment is helping many others do the same. It comes with my free report on “The Science of Getting Rich.” Both are downloadable, so you get them immediately.
Posted under Education, Law of Attraction, Leadership, Motivation, Success