It’s often said that employees don’t quit bad companies—they quit bad bosses. With ongoing staffing challenges and low employee engagement levels, it’s more important than ever for managers at all levels of the organization to practice leading with integrity. For behavioral health organizations in particular, this is an imperative that directly impacts patient outcomes as well. Creating a positive environment that motivates your team to do their best work and bring their whole selves to the job ensures your organization is able to provide high-quality care for the people you serve. Here are four ways to get started becoming a trusted leader or to enhance our existing management practices.
1. Keep Open Lines of Communication
Leading with integrity begins and ends with communication. With hybrid and remote work environments more commonplace these days, keeping open lines of communication may take some additional effort. Leading with integrity means communicating clearly across the organization and within departments and teams, being as transparent as possible, and allowing for communication to be a two-way street to give employees a voice as well. There are a number of ways in which leaders can communicate:
- Live, in person – In a traditional office setting, many communications were easily made in person. Whether it was a company-wide meeting with everyone gathering together in a conference room, smaller department meetings, or one-on-one check-ins between managers and direct reports, a lot of communication was face to face. In a hybrid or remote work environment, these may no longer be the best options, as they run the risk of leaving certain employees out.
- Live, via teleconference – To adjust to more dispersed workforce models, many organizations have turned to Zoom meetings and other video conferencing solutions that allow employees in different locations and time zones to attend together. Video conferencing allows for a flexible solution that works for groups large and small. However, it can also lead to issues like “Zoom fatigue” due to the extended screen time, requiring a different balance than in-person meetings required.
- Asynchronous communication – Not all forms of communication require a live meeting to discuss. Email communications, messaging apps, and company news sites provide a variety of options for relaying information in an asynchronous manner.
Having multiple modes of communication available and using the mode that’s most appropriate for a particular type of communication requires careful planning and consideration among leaders. Equally as important is giving employees the ability to have a voice and communicate as well.
ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution provides interactive company news and shout outs that can increase engagement and help improve communication across a dispersed workforce. News stories can be shared across the organization or to a particular location or department based on relevance. Additionally, employees are able to interact with the news stories by liking or commenting on the story. Shout outs are another great way to allow employees to communicate effectively, helping everyone participate in recognizing each other’s hard work, rather than recognition only flowing from the top down.
2. Build Trust to Empower Employees
Open communication across the organization is also a step toward building trust among employees and empowering them to do their best work. Honesty and trust are important elements of leading with integrity and promoting a supportive work environment. Giving employees a voice and allowing them to weigh in on decisions for projects and other initiatives can help empower employees to feel connected to the organization and motivated to contribute to its success. Building trust and empowering employees takes time, but it will typically include steps like:
- Being transparent and supportive
- Setting clear goals and accountability
- Allowing for mistakes in the learning process
- Providing help and resources
- Being honest and vulnerable
- Showing that you care
Building trust also builds psychological safety among employees, allowing everyone to feel safe in speaking up, sharing ideas, and working together. As a leader, you have the ability to influence your team and colleagues to help foster and promote this type of environment.
3. Follow Through on Your Commitments
What’s good for the goose is good for the leader with integrity. Following through on your commitments – in other words, doing the things you say you will do – is essential for leading by example. When you set the standard for your team, you’re also setting the standard for yourself. Without accountability for yourself as a leader, you’ll find it difficult to build trust among your employees as well. This accountability also requires clear communication and transparency that flows up and down the organization.
ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution can help communicate accountability across your team and for individuals as well. With goal setting capabilities built in, leaders can easily set organizational goals that cascade down to teams and individuals. Not only does this allow for better monitoring of progress, but it helps individuals understand how their contributions directly tie into the organization’s objectives.
4. Gather Feedback
Just as giving your employees a voice and building trust to empower them is important, so is allowing them to contribute to your growth as a leader as well. What works well for one employee may not be the right approach for another, so it’s important to collect feedback at the individual level as well. Whether done through an employee survey or more directly in a 1-1 meeting, leaders should ask questions that allow for open and honest conversation about what they can be doing better. On a broad level, these questions might look like this:
- How can I best support you?
- What resources do you need to do your best work?
- What feedback do you have for me as a manager?
While technology can’t replace this human element of vulnerability and personalization, it can help support the feedback process. For instance, leaders can use ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution to schedule 1-1 meetings, helping to serve as a reminder to meet on a regular basis. This also helps build accountability among leaders and employees.
Leading with Integrity Begins and Ends with Communication
Leading with integrity means a lot of things and is the culmination of multiple actions and behaviors. Most of these qualities, such as building trust, empowering team members, and creating accountability, begin and end with good communication. Whether that communication is face to face, in a group meeting, held virtually, or sent via email, ensuring transparency and understanding among your team members is essential for leading with integrity.
Bringing the human element to your leadership practice is also essential, and the right technology can help support your mission. To learn more about how ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution can help support your leadership style, contact us today.