Part 3 - Series on Balance
Integrity is structural soundness. My father, who has been a carpenter all his life, knows the integrity of a 2x4, a 2x6, a 4x4, or a cedar post, and chooses accordingly when bracing beams during new construction. I wondered if he knew what he was doing at times when I worked with him, but nothing ever fell, at least not due to bad bracing.
Integrity, from my point of view, is steadfast, not fluid. People change, positions change, but principles do not change. Integrity is internal.
Accountability works hand-in-hand with integrity. It is likely very clear to you who you are accountable to at work: supervisors, clients, suppliers, distributors, board members, and shareholders are all examples. You might even hold yourself accountable pretty well. Wise leaders respect and seek out accountability. Accountability comes from the outside, from people and processes.
So what do these 2 concepts have to do with balance? Taking a measurement of your integrity and evaluating your accountability to those closest to you are important. If one considers such things important at work, why not consider them at home as well?
I would say that a breach of integrity starts the ball rolling toward resisting accountability.
Consider this scenario: “When is she going to understand how important this project is? I have invested hours into it and it is about to pay off. I mean no harm when I don’t get home by 6, I just get so wrapped up in the work that the time slips by. A promise is a promise, but the stakes are so high right now! Everything will get a little easier in a couple of weeks when these plans go to production.
Why can’t she just deal with it a little longer?” “When is she…” and “Why can’t she…” are clear shifts of accountability onto the spouse in this scene, when it clearly does not rest with her. This accountability shift seems to come from the fact that Mr. Hard Worker has made and broken a promise or two about his work hours- a major integrity breach.
John G. Miller would say that this man is asking the wrong questions and should shift his focus back to what he can do to rebuild his integrity and establish accountability. Questions like, “What can I do to instill confidence in me as a husband?” or “How can I communicate how important this project is?” These questions shift focus back to integrity and accountability and will likely begin the balancing process in this home.
Some practical tips for maintaining integrity and accountability:
♦ Set time aside with your loved ones to review what the coming week will look like at work.
♦ Use a shared calendar for appointments.
♦ Do not screen calls from your loved ones, especially if you know you have already broken a commitment and stayed too late at the office- communicate and make amends quickly.
♦ Better yet, be proactive and communicate changes quickly when they occur unexpectedly.
♦ Err on the side of caution and make plans accordingly, rather than being optimistic and making promises that cannot be kept.
What are the pitfalls you experience regarding integrity and accountability? Do you recognize accountability shifting when it occurs? What brings you back to personal integrity and accountability?
Glen is our guest blogger and graciously wrote a series on balance. This is part 3 of that series. Connect with Glen here: @glengaugh
Glen's Series - Enhancing Your Professional (and I say leadership) Success examines these topics through the lens of balance.
Part #1: Emotions matter
Part #2: Include your family in your professional vision