Managers undermine their integrity in following a “don’t tell them” strategy.
The topic in my leading change class today was integrity and its impact on a leader’s ability to effect change. Integrity was defined as honoring your word and doing what you said you would do by when you said you would do it and if you are not going to do what you said, to communicate fully to everyone affected as soon as you know you won’t be going what you said so that they can make the appropriate and necessary accommodations. During the discussion, several students told of job situations in which projects they were working on were not going to get done when promised, but were told by their immediate managers not to tell the project clients. The reasoning was that if the clients were told before the due date, they would question the manger’s competence. However, once the deadline was missed, other factors could be blamed.
Although managers may think this “don’t tell them” strategy protects them from looking bad, it actually undermines their integrity and reputations. Each of the students involved in these situations said they lost respect and regard for the managers involved. This is unfortunate since all the managers needed to do to maintain their integrity was to have closure conversations with their clients.
Having one closure conversation, even if it may be a little uncomfortable, seems like a small price to pay for keeping one’s integrity and the respect of others.