All of us receive cues from our environment on what is advisable or inadvisable, good or bad, and right or wrong. Thus, the words of leaders resound and what they do has tremendous influence on what employees regard as acceptable.
A leader who visibly acts inconsistently with the norms and values of the organization will be silently ridiculed by employees as the premier corporate hypocrite. His behavior will subtly invite those with a passion for self-interest to join him in like violations.
Watchful eyes are always on a leader, and good companies realize that. Leaders then, are expected to show the same equanimity, honor and grace always, in all facets of life. Michael Critelli, CEO of Pitney Bowes, a S&P 500 company for more than 50 years, says a leader has to demonstrate integrity in all of the little things, from making accurate declarations of goods when traveling internationally to paying one’s taxes to accurately completing one’s expense reports. The secret is to practice integrity everywhere and always in order to make it a habit.