This is one of those sticky subjects that people (and companies) love to espouse as a core value… until a moment comes that puts that value to the test. Would you have passed the test?
I’m talking about integrity.
People have lots of personal definitions and interpretations of the term, but as a linguist, I go to its historical root.
Integrity comes from the Latin word integer, meaning “intact, whole.” That’s why in math, an “integer” is a whole number (i.e. no fractions or decimals as parts.)
That’s also why I like to look at the idea of having integrity as being whole, bringing your whole self to work, home or play, not hiding or denying your core truth (while still being contextually appropriate and tactful!) or otherwise acting in a way that contradicts deeper values.
“Yeah, yeah, Laura,” you protest. “All this fortune-cookie-wisdom is lovely, but the fact is that sometimes being 100% in integrity is really hard!”
Correct! That’s why I love seeing real-life examples of integrity in action.
For example, what would you do if your boss told you to take a plane out to one of the company’s locations on December 23rd, and the next day – Christmas Eve – lay off dozens upon dozens of people?
“But that would never actually happen… would it?” you ask.
Yup – as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what happened to Dr. Mary Ellen Harris, my guest on this week’s episode of the Speaking to Influence podcast.
This week on the podcast
Mary Ellen is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Kreischer Miller. She described a particularly harrowing experience when, as a rather junior employee at a former company, her boss told her to do just that: be the hatchet person and fire whole teams of people on Christmas Eve.
This was an important life test: Recognizing that she risked getting fired herself if she refused, she decided her own integrity was more important to her than the job, and put her foot down. She said she’d do it on January 2nd if necessary, but not a day sooner; she was not about to ruin so many people’s holidays.
Her boss *ahem* expressed his displeasure in a rather loud and animated way but did not fire her… although she ended up quitting soon after the new year anyway (who wants to work for a Scrooge like that?) with her head held high and her integrity intact, so in the end the moral victory was indeed the greatest one.
Think that was the only test of integrity Mary Ellen had to pass?
Tune in to hear stories including:
- How she leveraged a conversational inquiry process instead of traditional disciplinary tactics to address performance challenges with an employee, in a way that he was able to come up with a solution to his own problem and become a high-performing employee
- Her experience of undergoing brain surgery, and how she broached the subject with her team, and
- Why a physiological tic resulting from that surgery made her hesitant to turn on her video camera for our interview… and why I’m soooo glad she did! (Hint: it ties right back into that notion of integrity.)
PS: If you’re ready to establish a personal brand as a charismatic thought leader in your field, who people actually want to listen to, whether in meetings, on podcasts, or on panels, roundtables and beyond, keep reading:
What to watch out for next week
Next week I’m launching an intimate small-group coaching program to get you those exact results in record time: “8-Weeks to Becoming the Go-To Thought Leader.”
In each week’s hands-on workshop-style session, you’ll learn the secrets to:
- Speaking with confidence (even when you don’t feel it)
- discovering your natural charisma
- hypnotic storytelling
- being ready with mic-drop sound bites
- knowing where to find the audience who is dying to hear all that you have to offer
- how to connect with audiences on different platforms
- Making every engagement FUN!
It starts next Wednesday the 25th, and there are only 10 seats total (some are already filled).
It’s time to become the thought leader who doesn’t just get invited to speak because of technical expertise; you want to get invited back, again and again, because you knock it out of the park every time.
Send us a message to schedule a call with us to learn more!