The measurement of integrity

The Sunday Times Appointments Section today featured a fascinating article by Adrian Furnham of University College London, entitled ‘The managers who leave their integrity at the door‘. This article expands on the comments I made in the recent blogpost ‘The value of values’. We are all likely to know or have heard of the type of manager referred to in this article and certainly in my 20+ years in business I have had the displeasure to work with one or two. Luckily, however, this has been infrequent and I have generally been very lucky to work with some very professional people where ethics and integrity were high on their personal agenda and contributed to their success.

Furnham questions how you identify managers with little integrity and how companies can go about assessing the integrity of their teams…a tricky one, as he says, as if you question a manager who operates without integrity, he is unlikely to tell the truth!

Only through confidential interviews or questionnaires with peers or subordinates who have actually had time to get to know the practices of their colleague, will information emerge that clarifies their position on integrity.

Furnham suggests considering a series of statements in relation to your boss or colleague:

  • They are always trusted by people in the work group;
  • They always maintain high personal standards;
  • They always tell the truth;
  • They always put the organisation’s interests above their own;
  • There is always consistency between what they say and what they do.

If you believe that any of these statements are untrue, it is worthy of a closer review. It is not sufficient to talk about integrity in the values of the business. But what should a company do to assess the values of their key team members?

It is here that 360 degree appraisals are of value, not as a one-off solution but on an annual basis. If the right questions are asked, such as questions on the points listed above, it should be easy to find individual issues and points where a consensus is reached on an individual’s behaviours by a team. All results should be shared with the level above the manager of the person being assessed…ie the level beyond those covered in the 360 degree review.

As Furnham says, ‘Integrity has to be modelled from the top. Integrity issues need to be discussed, not pushed under the carpet. And everyone should know that integrity will be assessed annually, and the organisation has zero tolerance of unethical behaviour.’

3 Responses to The measurement of integrity

  1. Pingback: The measurement of integrity (via Think Plan Do Review Blog) | Business, Career, Life and Home Issues

  2. Pingback: The measurement of integrity (via Think Plan Do Review Blog) | Business, Career, Life and Home Issues

  3. Mariella Stockmal says:

    So greatly written, I had to re-post this on my blog. There are a lot of good honest people out there with ethics and respect to themselves and to what they do. We must never forget that “old fashioned” manners and ethics, are never outdated!
    Wonderful post!

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