Our Rock Star Project Manager series has covered many issues that are essential to being the best project manager for your team. From communication and stress management to how to get the most out of your phone calls, being a great project manager is about being able to lead people and serve as an example to those on your team. But for your team to trust you, to have faith in your leadership and respect you, they must first believe in your character. Integrity as a leader is just as important, if not more important, than effective communication strategies and proper delegation. Use this guide to do a quick self-reflection to make sure your values and work ethic are building a solid foundation for your business.
Integrity means doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s creating a reputation of honesty so that your team knows that you do what you say. Your word is gold in a small business, and if you expect your team to follow through on their commitments than you must lead by example. Of course, life happens, and sometimes you just can’t follow through with a commitment. The way you approach and handle the situation, the way you look for an alternative solution and the way you value your team's time and feelings in regards to the situation will say a lot about you. Your customers and employees will remember how you handled a mistake far more than they’ll remember the mistake.
Integrity means doing what you are supposed to even when nobody's watching. As a leader, you may be tempted to do (or not do) certain things because you feel safe that nobody will find out. Someone always finds out. The rules you have set in place for your team are there to ensure productivity, time management, focus, and safety. A good leader leads by example. If you have a cell phone policy in the office, follow it. If there are rules about time off or dress code, follow them.
Integrity means being responsible and accountable for your actions. It means being honest when you make a mistake and to be willing to apologize when necessary. It’s about not playing the blame game when things go wrong. At the end of the day, the success or failure of the project rests largely on your shoulders, and accepting the responsibilities that go along with the position often means being accountable for not only your actions but the actions of your team as well.
Integrity means doing what is right, not what is easy. When running a small business, it can be tempting to look for shortcuts or easier way to get things done, even if they go against the values or the ethics of the company. It means not claiming other people's work as your own, being transparent when it comes to pricing and finances, and owning up to your mistakes. It also means calling out employees who aren’t adhering to the company's mission and vision. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary to maintain the flow and productivity of the workplace. You build a business of values, trust, and integrity by being a leader who possesses these qualities.
Integrity means being accountable for the company’s data and confidentiality. Workplace integrity applies to company data as well. Data integrity means being relentless in ensuring the names, numbers, and data you have access to stays protected. It means test results and data produced by your company are consistent and accurate. Falsifying information to portray your company in a better light will almost always backfire and show your company as anything but favorable.
Being a rock star project manager means walking the walk, not just talking the talk. It means making it clear that honesty, transparency, and an unwavering work ethic are always more important than sales quotas. When you lead your small business with integrity, you will create a positive and productive workplace that you and your team can be proud of.