Small business owners constantly face difficult situations as they get their companies up and running. Sometimes it’s easy for them to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s not. But managers with integrity adhere to their moral codes no matter how hard things get, inspiring their employees with the example they set.


Integrity entails honesty not just in communication, but also in self-perception. For example, an effective manager will perform frequent self-assessments to ensure her leadership style is helping her employees. She might solicit feedback, asking her employees for honest evaluations of her skills as a manager. Rather than resent any criticism that emerges, she will treat it as an opportunity to improve. Through honest self-evaluation, the manager with integrity finds ways to become more effective, continually improving her performance within the organization.


Employees trust managers who have integrity, which facilitates open lines of communication and effective working relationships. For example, a trustworthy manager would never pass off employees’ work as her own, so employees never have to worry about losing credit. The trust the employees have in their manager’s moral character frees them to share data without reservation, creating a dynamic and open working relationship.


A manager with integrity takes responsibility when she makes a mistake. Suppose, for example, a manager issues unclear directions that cause confusion among her staff. Rather than yell at her employees for failing to realize what she meant to say, the manager accepts responsibility for the ensuing errors, doing whatever is necessary to restore order. After the crisis passes, the manager analyzes her initial orders to find ways of avoiding similar confusion in the future. Seeing their manager's willingness to take responsibility for her mistakes encourages employees to do the same.


Employees know they can count on a manager with integrity because she is consistent. She doesn’t play favorites, for example, or allow some employees to get away with things no one else can. When she says she will do something, she does it, even if circumstances later make it difficult for her to stick to her guns. Her consistency is reassuring because her employees know she will follow through with what she says.