Personal integrity & reputation

Author: Sarah Foster Published: 10 February 2011

“But have they got integrity?” A question that we’re often asked about candidates and, I’m sure, a question that is often asked about us here at Berwick Partners.

It’s such a difficult concept.

An esoteric impression that can make or break a critical appointment. In recruitment it can’t be measured by qualifications, assessment or even straightforward social interaction.  Yet every client hankers after it and we at the Berwick Group are determined to demonstrate it in all our actions.
Warren Buffet once said "In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." Perhaps a little brutal, but you understand the sentiment- all the determination and awards in the world won’t matter if your personal reputation isn’t water tight. 

So how can you maintain integrity?

Leadership always demands difficult decisions.  You can’t be everyone’s friend all the time and human nature means that our actions are subjective.The decision that leads to profit is not perhaps the same decision that leads to workplace satisfaction.  How can we balance this and hold our heads high?

There are several key areas that are worthy of consideration and indeed that we could examine ourselves about.

What are our personal core values?

Most of us know this instinctively yet we probably don’t articulate them. Do our actions hold true to these values? If the answer is no, then a little self reflection could be the order of the day.

Stability of character?

Leadership styles can be different yet effective. Open and warm through to cool and considered, all manners are acceptable yet only convincing if they’re comprehensive. Maintaining your approach when making hard decisions shows dependability. The mercurial temperament is not one to be relied on. Show those around that you’re comfortable with who you are and consistency will earn their loyalty.

Treating others how we would like to be treated ourselves

Such a simple idea. There are many divergent theories about how to achieve success in business and we can follow whichever path we choose. However there are a number of factors that make us enjoy our jobs and value our leaders- they’re not hard to identify. A comfortable and safe work place, absence of discrimination, good communication, fair and appropriate remuneration and above all personal respect. As a leader do you strive to provide these things for those around you?

Self awareness

A hackneyed phrase for sure- but don’t underestimate how important it can be. Do you know or even care how you are viewed by others? You would be shocked by the number of candidates that falter at interview when asked how their staff would describe them. You can see the dawning realisation on their faces that the word “despot” would be used. And it’s not a good thing. In our internet age there are a multitude of forums that let the world know people’s opinions of you. Keep on top of your reputation and if it’s declining then think about how to maintain or build up respect that you have lost.

Abraham Lincoln once said "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Gender specifics aside, there’s truth in this. To maintain personal reputation whilst working at a senior level is no easy feat. It requires thoughtfulness and consideration in all that you do. However, it is without question that integrity is the one commodity that will always be in demand, so it’s worth working hard to keep it and use it.

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